Re: Increase in scarlet fever notifications 2016
I have had this letter sent to school today:-
We are writing to inform you of a recent increase in notifications of scarlet fever to
Public Health Wales. Up to the end of week 11 2016 there were 432 notifications,
compared to 315 for the same period in 2015, with a sharp increase in week 11
(140 reports compared to 56 in 2015).
We are notifying schools and nurseries as this infection mostly affects children aged
under 10 years, and outbreaks can occur in schools and nurseries. Older children
are also susceptible to streptococcal sore throats, but may not have the rash of
Signs and symptoms of scarlet fever
Scarlet fever, sometimes called scarlatina, is an infectious disease caused by group
A streptococcus (GAS) bacteria (also known as Streptococcus pyogenes).
It is highly infectious and can be caught through direct contact with an infected
person or through the air via droplets from coughs or sneezes.
The characteristic symptom of scarlet fever is a widespread, fine pink-red rash that
feels like sandpaper to touch. Other symptoms include a high temperature, a
flushed face and a red, swollen tongue. The symptoms are caused by toxins
produced by the bacteria.
Complications of scarlet fever
Most cases of scarlet fever cause no complications, especially if the condition is
properly treated. However, complications in the early stages of the disease can
include ear infection, throat abscess, sinusitis, pneumonia and meningitis.
Very rare complications include rheumatic fever, kidney damage, liver damage, bone
infection, blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome which can be life-threatening.
Parents of unwell children should be advised to seek medical advice for
diagnosis and treatment
Scarlet fever circulating with chickenpox can be particularly dangerous-
please report this
Advise exclusion from nursery / school / work for 24 hours after the
commencement of appropriate antibiotic treatment
Good hand hygiene and avoidance of spread of respiratory secretions (as per
influenza- “catch it, kill it, bin it”) can help to prevent the spread of infection
Mr Cass, Headteacher