Scarlet Fever

A confirmed case of Scarlatina has been reported to School.

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that causes a distinctive pink-red rash. It is uncommon in the UK nowadays and is usually mild.

The characteristic symptom of scarlet fever is a widespread, fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch. It may start in one area, but soon spreads to many parts of the body, such as the ears, neck and chest. The rash may be itchy.

Other symptoms include a high temperature, a flushed face and a red, swollen tongue. Symptoms of scarlet fever usually develop two to five days after infection, although you will be contagious before showing signs of the illness.

Scarlet fever is also known as scarlatina, although this often refers to a milder form of the disease. It usually follows a sore throat or a skin infection (impetigo) caused by particular strains of streptococcus bacteria.

 When to seek medical advice

See your GP as soon as possible if you suspect you or your child has scarlet fever.

 Who is affected


Anybody can catch scarlet fever, but it usually affects children aged two to eight years old. As it is so contagious, scarlet fever is likely to affect someone in close contact with a person with a sore throat or skin infection caused by streptococcus bacteria. It may also affect someone who lives in a crowded environment, such as day care.

There's no evidence that catching scarlet fever when pregnant will put your baby at risk. However, heavily pregnant women should tell healthcare staff if they have been in contact with someone who has scarlet fever.

 How it is treated

Scarlet fever used to be a very serious disease, but most cases today are mild. This is because scarlet fever can easily be treated with antibiotic tablets. These must be taken for 10 days, even though most people recover after four to five days.

 Preventing it from spreading

If your child has scarlet fever, do not let them attend school and keep them away from other people until they have been on a course of antibiotics for at least 24 hours.

 You must inform the school if your child has been diagnosed with Scarlet fever or Scarlatina.