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Scarlet Fever

Posted: March 18, 2016

Please note that although there have only been a few reported cases of scarlet fever school-wide this term, it is present and active in the local community at this time. The follow information is provided by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP):

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection caused by Group A Streptococcus. It mostly affects children under 10 years of age.

The infection usually starts with a fever and sore throat. Headache, vomiting and abdominal discomfort may also occur. The tongue may have a distinctive ‘strawberry-like’ (red and bumpy) appearance. The child may also display a rough ‘sandpaper-like’ rash that commonly begins on the first or second day of illness on the upper trunk and neck spreading to the limbs. The rash is usually more prominent in armpit, elbow and groin areas. It usually subsides after one week and is followed by skin peeling over fingertips, toes and groin areas.

Scarlet fever can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing or direct contact with infected secretions. Signs and symptoms of infection can take up to three days to appear after contact. The Streptococcus bacteria can be treated with antibiotics so if your child develops symptoms of scarlet fever, consult your doctor promptly.

The CHP reminds the public that there are no vaccines available against scarlet fever. The public is advised to reduce their chance of getting infection by adopting the following measures:

  • Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene
    • Always keep hands clean and wash with liquid soap when they are dirtied by mouth and nasal fluids
    • Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly
    • Avoid sharing personal items e.g. eating utensils and towels
    • Maintain good ventilation
  • Sick children should refrain from attending school until they are fever free 48 hours and have been treated with antibiotics for at least 24 hours.