Scarlet fever cases double in Nottingham

Parents and schools are being urged to stay vigilant as the number of scarlet fever cases double in the city since last year.

Eighteen cases of the bacterial illness have been diagnosed by doctors in the city so far, up from only nine cases last year.

There have also been 10 more cases of the condition across the rest of the county this year, increasing from 14 to 24.

According to Public Health England (PHE) more than 14,000 cases of scarlet fever were reported in England last year, the highest total since the 1960’s.

Scarlet Fever

The rare condition, also known as scarlatina, usually affects children aged two to eight years old and is highly contagious.

The first symptoms include a sore throat and fever which may be accompanied by a headache, nausea and vomiting.

Between 12 to 48 hours after this, a characteristic fine rash which feels like sandpaper to the touch develops, often appearing first on the stomach or chest.

Other symptoms can include a high temperature, flushed face and a red, swollen tongue.

PHE reported 1,265 new cases of the illness in England in the first six weeks of this year, an increase of 503 cases compared with the beginning of 2014.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance said:

We ask GPs and other front line medical staff to be mindful of the current high levels of scarlet fever activity when assessing patients.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE

“Schools and nurseries should similarly be mindful of the current elevated levels of scarlet fever and promptly inform local health protection teams at an early stage if they become aware of cases, especially if more than one child is affected.

“We will continue to closely monitor these increases both nationally and locally and work with healthcare professionals and schools to raise awareness and halt the spread of infection.”

Dr Lamagni also advised that families and friends caring for someone with scarlet fever can reduce the risk of it spreading by frequent hand washing and ensuring clothes, bedding, towels and cutlery are not shared between members of the household.

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