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Scarlet fever cases increase 237% in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire has seen a large rise in the number of cases of scarlet fever over the past few weeks compared to last year.

According to figures from Public Health England, there have been 27 cases of scarlet fever reported by GPs or clinicians in Lincolnshire up to March 14.

The number of cases reported to PHE is a rise of 237%, after only eight cases for the same period last year.

So far, one of these cases has been confirmed by Lincoln primary school, Chad Varah.

However, PHE reports it has seen a rise in cases of the infectious disease across the country.

Since the “season” for scarlet fever began in September 2013, PHE has been informed of 3,548 new cases, up from an average of 1,420 cases reported for the same period in previous years.

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.

“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.”

Scarlet fever is most common in young children, and Lincolnshire County Council has issued advice for parents to help them know what symptoms to look out for in a child.

Liz Morgan, LCC Assistant Director for Public Health, said: “This is generally a mild infection spread through coughing and sneezing but it can have more serious consequences and can spread quickly if not treated.

“If you or your child have scarlet fever, stay off work or keep children off school for at least 24hrs after starting antibiotics. Frequent handwashing will help to reduce the risk of spreading the infection, particularly after disposing of used tissues or handkerchiefs. Make sure cutlery, plates and glasses used by an infected person are not shared.”

Scarlet fever becomes apparent by a red rash that first appears on the chest or stomach before spreading, plus other symptoms include a fever, sore throat, headaches, vomiting, swollen glands, tiredness, flushed face, or a white coating on the tongue.