February 21, 2017
Scarlet fever cases rising in Somerset, says Public Health England

Public Health England is reporting an increase in the number of scarlet fever cases across Somerset so far this winter - despite a decrease in cases across the whole south west region.

Somerset recorded 27 cases last year but there have been 34 cases in the same period this winter.

Notifications from doctors have fallen by 18% across the region compared to the same period last year.

Public Health England South West Deputy Director of Health Protection, Mike Wade, said: "Scarlet fever is a common infection which is more frequently suffered during winter. Symptoms usually clear up after a week, and in the majority of cases remain reasonably mild."

"As scarlet fever is highly contagious, children or adults diagnosed with scarlet fever by their GP should stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection. Basic good hygiene such as washing hands regularly and covering mouth and nose with a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes will help prevent the spread of scarlet fever."

Scarlet fever’s symptoms include a sore throat, headache and fever with a characteristic sandpapery, fine, pinkish or red rash. If anyone develops these symptoms they should see a GP for assessment.

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 although much less serious now, complications can arise, particularly in those who remain untreated. There is currently no vaccine.

Scarlet fever is defined as a 'notifiable disease' in England, and since mid-September there have been 348 reports made to PHE South West, compared to 422 the previous year.

For more information about scarlet fever click here.


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