Scarlet fever, a illness usually related to the Victorian period, has seen a resurgence once more within the UK lately.
The variety of circumstances in England hit a 50-year excessive in 2016 – when some 17,000 infections have been reported – and continued to rise in every of the next years, authorities figures confirmed in 2020.
In current weeks, the UK Well being and Safety Company (UKHSA) has been monitoring an infection charges in northwest England.
This follows quite a few outbreaks in colleges in Lancashire and Better Manchester, and well being officers have suggested mother and father to look out for signs of their kids.
Is scarlet fever severe?
Whereas scarlet fever was among the many main causes of loss of life within the nineteenth century, it’s now sometimes a light sickness.
It impacts principally younger kids, and may now be simply handled with antibiotics.
Nevertheless, in uncommon circumstances, the virus could cause problems – starting from ear infections, to pneumonia, meningitis and rheumatic fever.
Is it contagious and the way does it unfold?
Based on the NHS, scarlet fever is “very infectious and may simply unfold to different individuals”.
It’s attributable to a micro organism referred to as group A Streptococcus, that are generally discovered within the nostril and throat and in addition trigger infections resembling impetigo and strep throat.
It normally takes two to 5 days for somebody uncovered to the micro organism to turn into unwell with scarlet fever.
The virus is transmitted by way of airborne respiratory droplets, which might be unfold by coughing and sneezing, nevertheless individuals can even turn into contaminated by direct contact with the mucus, saliva or pores and skin of an contaminated individual.
It can be caught by sharing contaminated towels, baths, garments or mattress linen.
What are the signs?
The sickness sometimes begins with flu-like signs, which might embrace a excessive temperature, headache, sore throat, flushed cheeks, and swollen neck glands.
Early on within the sickness, the virus could cause a whitish coating to seem on the tongue, which finally peels, leaving the tongue purple, swollen and lined in bumps – often known as “strawberry tongue”.
Some 12 to 48 hours after the preliminary scarlet fever signs, a attribute pinkish rash then normally seems on the physique.
Based on the NHS, a scarlet fever rash seems seems like small, raised bumps and makes the affected person’s pores and skin really feel tough like sandpaper. The rash begins on the chest and abdomen earlier than spreading.
How do you deal with it and cease it from spreading?
Whereas most circumstances of scarlet fever clear up after a couple of week with out therapy, a course of antibiotics are beneficial – dashing up restoration time and decreasing the chance of problems, in accordance with NHS Scotland.
The fever sometimes improves inside 24 hours of beginning antibiotics – normally penicillin or amoxicillin tablets – with the opposite signs disappearing inside a number of days.
You possibly can relieve among the signs of scarlet fever by consuming cool fluids, taking painkillers resembling paracetamol to scale back a excessive temperature, and utilizing calamine lotion or antihistamine tablets to ease itching, the NHS web site says.
An individual contaminated with scarlet fever can unfold the sickness as much as six days previous to signs. Whereas individuals sometimes stay infectious till 24 hours after a primary dose of antibiotics, those that do to not take them sometimes stay infectious for 2 to a few weeks after the onset of signs.
So as to restrict the unfold of scarlet fever, persons are suggested to observe good hygiene by washing fingers with heat water and cleaning soap, masking the nostril and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and never sharing consuming glasses or utensils.
Following one of many current outbreaks, Better Manchester’s lead director of public well being Professor Kate Ardern advised the Manchester Night Information: “It’s actually necessary we do attempt to break the speed of transmission of scarlet fever.
“It feels like a really quaint illness, which it’s, however it’s again on the rise once more and we do have to attempt to comprise it.”