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Scarlet fever: Hundreds of new cases recorded in the UK

Scarlet Fever is making a comeback

Scarlet Fever is making a comeback

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More than 300 people were diagnosed with scarlet fever in the UK last week, in the worst outbreak of the disease for 50 years. 

Doctors and medical professionals are expressing concern, with 1,265 cases of Scarlet Fever recorded since the year began.

The diseases took many lives in the Victorian era but has since become rarer. 

But now the condition, which is known to cause a sore throat and fever as well as a distinctive rash on the chest or stomach, is making a comeback.

So far it has been revealed that 342 new cases were reported in England only last week, compared to only 169 cases in the first week of January.

This year’s figures after it had been reported that last year saw the highest level of scarlet fever cases since the late 1960s, with more than 14,000 people diagnosed with the disease. 

How can you catch it?

  • Breathing in bacteria in airborne droplets from an infected person’s coughs and sneezes
  • Touching the skin of a person with a streptococcal skin infection
  • Sharing contaminated towels, baths, clothes or bed linen
  • It can also be caught from carriers – people who have the bacteria in their throat or on their skin but do not show any symptoms.

What should you do if you spot it?

  • Do not let your child go to school if they have it and keep them away from other people until they have been on a course of antibiotics for at least 24 hours.
  • All tissues and cloths that someone with scarlet fever has coughed or sneezed into should be thrown away immediately. Hands should be washed with soap and water if exposed to them
  • Avoid sharing contaminated eating utensils, cups and glasses, clothes, baths, bed linen or towels.

Advice courtesy of the NHS. If you exhibit the symptoms listed above, please make an appointment with your local GP.

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