Cases of scar­let fever nine times higher than same pe­riod last year

Rise could be due to in­creased aware­ness and re­port­ing

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

There were 27 cases re­ported in Bucks in the week to March 25 alone, the high­est num­ber in one week since the start of 2018. The num­ber of re­ports to Pub­lic Health Eng­land (PHE) is nine times higher than the three cases recorded in the same week in 2017, and up from 15 in 2016 and 10 in 2015.

Of the cases re­ported, 11 were in Ayles­bury Vale, seven in Wy­combe, five in Chiltern and two in South Bucks.

Across Eng­land and Wales, there were 1,977 re­ports of scar­let fever in the week end­ing March 25, up from 1,805 the week be­fore and more than dou­ble the 711 re­ported in the same week in 2017.

Ear­lier in Fe­bru­ary, Pro­fes­sor He­len Stokes-Lam­pard, chair­man of the Royal Col­lege of GPs, said: “Scar­let Fever is a bac­te­rial in­fec­tion that usu­ally presents with a sore throat, fever, headaches, and a rosy rash that gen- er­ally starts on a pa­tient’s chest.

“It is very con­ta­gious dis­ease and much more com­mon in chil­dren un­der 10 than teenagers or adults, but it can be treated quickly and ef­fec­tively with a full course of an­tibi­otics and all GPs are trained to di­ag­nose and treat it.

“Scar­let fever used to be a lot more com­mon than it is now, but GPs are notic­ing more cases than in pre­vi­ous years at the mo­ment. If a pa­tient thinks that they, or their child, might have symp­toms, they should seek med­i­cal as­sis­tance.”

Scar­let fever is usu­ally a mild ill­ness; PHE is ad­vis­ing par­ents to be on the look­out for scar­let fever symp­toms, which in­clude a sore throat, headache and fever with a char­ac­ter­is­tic fine, pink­ish or red rash with a sand­pa­pery feel. If signs of scar­let fever are sus­pected, it is im­por­tant to con­tact your lo­cal GP or NHS 111.

Nick Phin, Deputy Direc­tor at Pub­lic Health Eng­land, said: “It’s not un­com­mon to see a rise in cases of scar­let fever at this time of year.

“We are mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely and re­mind par­ents to be aware of the symp­toms of scar­let fever and to con­tact their GP for as­sess­ment if they think their child might have it. Whilst there has been a notable in­crease in scar­let fever cases when com­pared to last sea­son, greater aware­ness and im­proved re­port­ing prac­tices may have con­trib­uted to this in­crease.”

PHE is also urg­ing GPs, pae­di­a­tri­cians, and health prac­ti­tion­ers to promptly no­tify lo­cal health pro­tec­tion teams of cases.

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