Science

Scarlet Fever Cases Reported In UK

By Christie Abagon , Nov 09, 2016 05:20 PM EST

Public Health England said that for the week ending October 30, around 13 cases of the seasonal illness Scarlet Fever have been reported.  Although it has become less common than it used to be, a number  of significant outbreaks have been confirmed in the recent years.

Scarlet fever is an infection that can develop if the person has strep throat.  It is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria; which produce a toxin, or poison, that causes a bright red rash on the body.  Aside from the rashes, the patient affected usually also has high fever and sore throat. 

PHE's head of streptococcal infection surveillance, Dr Theresa Lamagni, said: "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."

Scarlet fever or scarlatina mainly affects kids between ages 5 and 15, and is highly contagious. It can be spread through close contact with infected people or indirect contact with objects and surfaces contaminated with the Scarlet fever bacteria.

Initial Symptoms:

sore throat

headache

high temperature

flushed cheeks

swollen tongue

After one or two days:

characteristic pinkish-red rash appears

usually occurs on the chest and stomach before spreading to other areas of the body, such as the ears and neck

rash feels like sandpaper to the touch

skin feels itchy

Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat scarlet fever since it kills bacteria and help the body's immune system fight off the bacteria causing the infection. 

Normally the rashes and other symptoms associated with scarlet fever disappear in about two weeks.  However, if it's left untreated, it may result to serious complications, which may include the following:

rheumatic fever

kidney disease

ear infections

skin infections

throat abscesses

pneumonia

arthritis

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