Lichfield and Burntwood parents warned as scarlet fever cases rise

Parents in Lichfield and Burntwood are being advised to keep a look out for the signs of scarlet fever after a “significant increase” in cases.

In the first quarter of the year, there have been 50 identified cases in Staffordshire compared to five in 2011, with the national tally at its highest level for mroe than 30 years.

Most cases of scarlet fever are mild and can be treated with antibiotics, but it can lead to complications in some children.

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet support member for public health and community safety, said:
“The council’s public health team is working closely with regional colleagues to see if there is a reason for the increase.

A typical scarlet fever rash. Pic: Alicia Williams

A typical scarlet fever rash. Pic: Alicia Williams

“In the meantime it is sensible to see your GP if you think your child may have symptoms.”

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that causes a distinctive pink-red rash. It is mainly a childhood disease and is most common between the ages of two and eight years. The rash often starts in one area but can quickly spread to the ears, chest and neck. Other symptoms include a high temperature and swollen tongue.

Dr Alison Teale, Consultant in Public Health with Staffordshire County Council, added: “Although most children respond very well to antibiotics, the illness is very infectious so it is important that people are treated as swiftly as possible.”

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