Scarlet fever cases increase across Essex: Public Health England warning as disease outbreak highest since 1989

Health warning for parents in Essex

Health warning for parents in Essex

First published in News

A WARNING has been issued as Scarlet Fever cases reach their highest levels since 1989. 

Anglia and Essex has seen an increase of 40 cases year on year from 140 in 2012/13 to 180 in 2013/14. 

Public Health England (PHE) has reported significant increases in scarlet fever notifications across England, with a total of 3,548 new cases since the season began in September 2013, compared to an average of 1,420 cases reported for the same period in the previous 10 years.

The last season to have this level of scarlet fever activity was 1989/1990 when 4,042 notifications were received.

Scarlet fever is an infectious disease caused by group A streptococcus bacterium.

Typically there are seasonal rises in scarlet fever between December and April each year, and also a cycle of increases and decreases in incidence that repeats over a period of several years. This most recent increase is likely to be part of that cycle.

Routine monitoring of surveillance data identified widespread increases in scarlet fever notifications in February 2014 compared to recent years.

These increases continued into March, with weeks 10 and 11 of 2014 being particularly high with numbers of notifications surpassing levels seen in the last peak year (2008/09).

As a result of this increase in scarlet fever, PHE is alerting health practitioners so they can be mindful of the current increase when assessing patients.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said: “The first symptoms of scarlet fever often include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Between 12 to 48 hours after this, a characteristic rash develops. Cases are more common in children although adults can also develop scarlet fever. Symptoms usually clear up after a week and the majority of cases can be treated with a course of antibiotics to reduce risk of complications.
News Release

“PHE recommends that people with symptoms of scarlet fever see their GP. Once children or
adults are diagnosed with scarlet fever we strongly advise them to stay at home until at least
24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection.

“PHE publishes guidance for schools where infections can spread easily. Where outbreaks
occur, local health protection teams are on hand to provide a rapid response, effective
outbreak management and authoritative advice.”

Scarlet fever is mainly a childhood disease and is most common between the ages of two and
eight years. It was once a very dangerous infection, but has now become much less serious.

Antibiotic treatment should be given to minimise the risk of complications. There is currently no
vaccine for scarlet fever.

PHE continue to monitor these increases and are working closely with healthcare
professionals to try and halt the spread of infection.

For further information for patients on scarlet fever please visit: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/scarlet-fever/pages/introduction.aspx

Comments (7)

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9:46pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Kim Gandy says...

...where the hell did that come from?

It hasn't been heard of for years...
...where the hell did that come from? It hasn't been heard of for years... Kim Gandy
  • Score: 25

11:22pm Thu 10 Apr 14

InTheKnowOk says...

With more and more people coming into this country unchecked, we are going to see a rise in all sorts of diseases that were once under control through vaccination ..
With more and more people coming into this country unchecked, we are going to see a rise in all sorts of diseases that were once under control through vaccination .. InTheKnowOk
  • Score: 61

11:59pm Thu 10 Apr 14

v1r00z says...

Wash your hands don't blame everyone!
Wash your hands don't blame everyone! v1r00z
  • Score: -27

10:02am Fri 11 Apr 14

pembury53 says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
...where the hell did that come from? It hasn't been heard of for years...
same place as the TB epidemic........ some would claim it's cultural diversity, which in a way, i suppose it is..........
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: ...where the hell did that come from? It hasn't been heard of for years...[/p][/quote]same place as the TB epidemic........ some would claim it's cultural diversity, which in a way, i suppose it is.......... pembury53
  • Score: 15

12:56pm Fri 11 Apr 14

orsettblue says...

scarlet fever? wasn't she in Gone with the Wind?
scarlet fever? wasn't she in Gone with the Wind? orsettblue
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Fri 11 Apr 14

Howard Cháse says...

orsettblue wrote:
scarlet fever? wasn't she in Gone with the Wind?
That's stomach pains....
[quote][p][bold]orsettblue[/bold] wrote: scarlet fever? wasn't she in Gone with the Wind?[/p][/quote]That's stomach pains.... Howard Cháse
  • Score: -2

8:53pm Sat 12 Apr 14

jeancc says...

its always been around,8 years ago we thought our son had it had red rash under arms but had chicken pox at the time doc had to make checks......be aware its not good if you get both at same time,my son didn't have it was a viral rash plus the chicken pox-but was a worry
its always been around,8 years ago we thought our son had it had red rash under arms but had chicken pox at the time doc had to make checks......be aware its not good if you get both at same time,my son didn't have it was a viral rash plus the chicken pox-but was a worry jeancc
  • Score: 2

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