You may be aware that there has been an increase in the number of Strep A infections across the country, and we want to ensure you have the latest guidance in respect of signs and symptoms.
GAS (Group A Streptococcus) bacteria can cause Scarlet Fever, and also other respiratory and skin infections, such as Strep throat and Impetigo. It is a common bacteria which many people carry and doesn’t always result in illness, but it can cause mild and more serious infections.
The current information from the UKHSA (UK Health and Security Agency) is that there is no evidence that a new strain is circulating, but that the increase is most likely related to high amounts of circulating bacteria and also lots of viruses, which cause sore throats, colds and coughs, which should resolve without medical intervention. However, children, on occasion, can develop a bacterial infection on top of a virus, which can make them more unwell.
Early symptoms of Scarlet Fever in children include sore throats, headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting. After 12 to 48 hours the characteristic red, pinhead rash develops, usually first appearing on the chest and stomach, then rapidly spreading to other parts of the body, giving the skin a ‘sandpaper-like’ texture. Children will also typically have flushed cheeks and pallor round the mouth. Early treatment is important in this case, so call your GP or NHS 111 online
GAS is spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes. Children should be encouraged to wash their hands properly with soap and water, and use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes. Any child with suspected Scarlet Fever should stay at home for at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection.
Please see further information at Strep A infections – what you need to know