Parents urged to be alert as scarlet fever cases reported

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Parents are being urged to be vigilant after cases of the highly-contagious scarlet fever were reported in Bexhill schools.

All Saints School in Sidley says one pupil had a confirmed diagnosis of scarlet fever and has been treated for the condition.

Cases have also been reported at Amberley Nursery, Chantry School and King Offa School.

The Observer understands King Offa School will be undergoing a deep clean over the weekend in a bid to prevent the disease spreading.Scarlet fever is a notifiable disease in England, which means health professionals must inform local health protection teams of suspected cases.

According to Public Health England (PHE), on the week ending March 13, it received reports of four cases of scarlet fever in Rother and one in Hastings.

It is the third season in a row where the number of cases of scarlet fever have risen nationwide.

There are around 600 new cases notified each week at present, with further increases expected as the peak season for the disease occurs between late March and mid-April.

Notifications of more severe infection caused by the same bacterium (group A streptococcus) are also showing a slight increase in incidence in recent weeks and will be monitored closely as the season progresses.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said: “Parents can play a key role in recognising when their child needs to be seen by their GP.

“Early signs to look out for are sore throat, headache and fever with the characteristic pinkish/red sandpapery rash appearing within a day or two, typically on the chest and stomach but then spreading to other parts of the body.

“Individuals who think they or their child may have scarlet fever should seek advice from their GP without delay as prompt antibiotic treatment is needed.

“Symptoms usually clear up after a week and the majority of cases will resolve without complication as long as the recommended course of antibiotics is completed.”

Potential complications can include ear infection, throat abscess and pneumonia.

Patients who do not show signs of improvement within a few days of starting treatment should seek urgent medical advice.

To find out more, visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Scarlet-fever