Scarlet fever rates soar across Wales
CASES of “highly contagious” scarlet fever are continuing to soar in Wales, with more than 90 cases reported in the last week alone.
According to new data for the week ending February 11, 92 suspected cases of scarlet fever were reported in Wales.
The number is much higher than in the sixth week of the year in the previous four years, with 27 cases reported in 2017, 25 in 2016, and 23 in 2015.
Scarlet Fever can be treated quickly and effectively with a full course of antibiotics and all GPs are trained to diagnose and treat it.
Since the start of the year, there have been 273 cases of scarlet fever reported in Wales – more than double the 124 seen in the same period in 2017.
Numbers also appear to be rising week on week, with 92 in the week to February 11, compared to 76 the week before, 47 in the week to January 28, and 28 in the week to January 21.
Professor Helen StokesLampard, chairwoman 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 generally starts on a patient’s chest.
“It is a 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.”
Since the start of 2018, Bridgend has seen the Blaenau Gwent 3 Bridgend 29 Caerphilly 13 Cardiff 17 Merthyr Tydfil 0 Rhondda Cynon Taff 23 Torfaen 9 Vale of Glamorgan 23 most cases of scarlet fever (29), followed by Swansea (25), Vale of Glamorgan (23) and Rhondda Cynon Taff (23).
Public health experts are advising parents to be on the lookout for symptoms, which include a sore throat, headache and fever with a characteristic fine, pinkish or red rash with a “sandpapery” feel.
If scarlet fever is suspected, it is important to contact your local GP or NHS Direct.
Study leader Dr Theresa Lamagni, head of streptococcal surveillance at Public Health England, said: “While current rates are nowhere near those seen in the early 1900s, the magnitude of the recent upsurge is greater than any documented in the last century.
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Kto be aware of the symptoms of scarlet fever and to contact their GP if they think their child might have it.”
She said the underlying cause of the resurgence is not known although several countries in East Asia have also reported an escalation including Vietnam, China, South Korea and Hong Kong.
She added: “While there is no clear connection between the situation in the UK and East Asia, a link cannot be excluded without better understanding of the drivers behind these changes.
“The hunt for further explanations for the rise in scarlet fever goes on.”
The fine, red, itchy rash caused by scarlet fever