Derbyshire on red alert over Scarlet Fever cases
Derbyshire parents are being warned to watch for symptoms of Scarlet Fever among their children after a health organisation has recorded an increase in cases of the infection.
Public Health England revealed there have been 134 cases of the condition reported to it in the East Midlands since the beginning of January compared with 56 in the same period last year.
A total of 40 notifications in Derbyshire have been recorded during the first eight weeks of 2014, compared with 28 over the same period in 2013, according to Public Health England.
Dr Philip Monk, consultant in communicable disease at Public Health England, said: “Doctors should be able to give advice on appropriate additional medication to relieve symptoms.
“Scarlet Fever is spread from person to person either by breathing in airborne droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing. It is essential that people wash their hands regularly.”
Because the condition is extremely contagious, letters are being issued to parents by local councils and PHE through children’s schools and nurseries.
This year’s figures also include 46 in Nottinghamshire, compared to eight last year, and 46 in Leicester, against 15 in 2013.
Scarlet Fever, sometimes called Scarlatina, is a bacterial illness which causes a distinctive pink-red rash and it is most common in children between the ages of two and eight years.
It is caused by bacteria which affects the throat and causes the tongue to swell and redden and the cheeks to flush.
Symptoms of Scarlet Fever usually develop two to five days after infection, although patients will be contagious before showing signs of the illness.
Dr Monk added: “For the majority of cases of Scarlet Fever, a course of antibiotics will cure the illness and reduce the risk of complications. People with high temperatures should drink fluids and keep cool.
“The bacteria are carried in saliva in the mouth and mucus from a runny nose so Scarlet Fever is spread from person to person either by breathing in airborne droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing, or by touching the mucus or saliva of an infected person or items they have used. Therefore, it is essential people wash their hands regularly and do not share utensils with an infected person.”