Statement on scarlet fever and invasive streptococcal disease

588 days ago

Whilst cases of invasive group A streptococcal infection (iGAS) remain rare in Wales, and children have a very low risk of contracting the disease, Carmarthenshire County Council is working closely with Public Health Wales to respond to an increase in notifications of scarlet fever and invasive streptococcal disease.

This infection mostly affects children aged under 10 years, and so outbreaks can occur in schools and nurseries. Older children are also susceptible to streptococcal sore throats but may not have the rash of scarlet fever.

For further information about Streptococcus A (strep A), Scarlet Fever and iGAS and a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), please visit the Public Health Wales website.

Signs and symptoms of scarlet fever 

Scarlet fever, sometimes called scarlatina, is an infectious disease caused by group A streptococcus (GAS) bacteria (also known as Streptococcus pyogenes). It is highly infectious and can be caught through direct contact with an infected person or through the air via droplets from coughs or sneezes. The characteristic symptom of scarlet fever is a widespread, fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch. Other symptoms include a high temperature, a flushed face and a red, swollen tongue.

Treatment is straightforward and usually involves a course of penicillin antibiotics.

Complications of scarlet fever and streptococcal infection

Most cases of scarlet fever cause no complications, especially if the condition is properly treated. However, complications in the early stages of the disease can include ear infection, throat abscess, sinusitis, pneumonia and meningitis.

Recommended actions

  • Parents of unwell children should seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment. Contact your GP or NHS 111 Wales.
  • A person with scarlet fever should withdraw from schools / settings for 24 hours after the commencement of appropriate antibiotic treatment.
  • Good hand hygiene and avoidance of spread of respiratory secretions (as per influenza- “catch it, bin it, kill it”) can help to prevent the spread of infection.

No changes to school learning

In line with advice provided by Public Health Wales, learning at all Carmarthenshire schools will continue as usual. There is no requirement to wear face coverings at school, group pupils into small clusters, move to remote learning and there wil be no impact to school transport.

We understand your concern at this time and we would like to reassure you that although iGAS is serious, it remains uncommon.  We recommend that all parents continue to follow the medical advice regarding scarlet fever as outline on ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the Public Health Wales website.