Scarlet Fever and Strep A
The UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) has asked all schools to share the following information with parents in the EYFS:
(Please also read the 2 attached documents below)
You will be aware of the coverage in the media concerning Group A streptococcus infections, also known as Group A strep, strep A or GAS. Group A strep is a common bacteria, which many of us carry in our throats and on our skin. It doesn’t always result in illness, but it can cause infections, some mild and some more serious. More serious infections are caused by the bacteria getting into parts of the body where it’s not usually found, like the lungs or bloodstream. These are usually linked to invasive group A strep also known as iGAS.
The increase in cases is being investigated, but is not thought to be because of a new strain of bacteria. It is more likely to be as a result of a number of factors including more social mixing and increases in other respiratory illnesses.
Key messages for parents
1. Group A strep (GAS) is a common bacteria which causes a range of infections, including scarlet fever. These infections are usually mild. Invasive group A strep (iGAS) is a rare infection when the bacteria gets into parts of the body where it can cause more serious disease, like the lungs or bloodstream.
2. There are currently higher than seasonal expected levels of scarlet fever. The early symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting followed by a characteristic red, pinhead rash giving the skin a sandpaper-like texture. For more information and advice, please see: Scarlet fever NHS (www.nhs.uk)
3. Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important, including:
• washing hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap
• catching coughs and sneezes using tissues – catch it, bin it, kill it
• keeping away from others when feeling unwell.
4. As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement. Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:
• your child has a sore throat, fever, chills or muscle aches, but they are getting worse
• your child stops feeding or is eating less than normal
• your child has a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehyrdration
• your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38oC, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39oC or higher
• your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
• your child is very tired or irritable.
5. Call 999 or go to A&E if:
• your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
• there are pauses when your child breathes
• your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
• your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake
For more information please see: UKHSA Blog - Group A Strep - What you need to know.
The 2 leaflets below provide extra information for parents