Scar­let fever rates soar across Wales

Cynon Valley - - YOUR VIEWS - MARK SMITH mark.smith@waleson­line.com

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.

“We en­cour­age par­ents Please post me free & with­out obli­ga­tion full de­tails of the Alta2 Pro hear­ing aid. Tick if pen­sioner.

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

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