NHS can’t verify reports of Scarlet Fever in Fife - but offer advice to parents

An example of Scarlet Fever
An example of Scarlet Fever

Fife NHS cannot verify reports of an increase in cases of scarlet fever locally but it has issued advice in how to spot and treat the illness.

The Press understands clusters of cases have occurred in local schools but, according to Fife NHS, figures in Scotland are not collated.

Public Health England, which does track cases, has reported a steep increase in scarlet fever recently.

The bacterial illness, which most often occurs at this time of year, mainly affects children under the age of 10 years.

A spokesman for Fife NHS said: “It causes a pink-red rash. The illness is caused by Streprococcus pyogenes bacteria which are found on the skin and in the throat.”

Early treatment with antibiotics is recommended and the symptoms to look out for are: sore throat, swollen tongue and flushed cheeks; headache and high temperature.

Also pinkish red rash that feels rough to the touch which usually starts on the chest and stomach and then spreads.

He added: “If you think that you or your child may have scarlet fever it is important to contact your GP or, out of hours, NHS 24 so that early treatment with antibiotics can be given.”

The illness, which is highly contagious, can be caught from airborne droplets or touching infected skin.

People are advised to wash their hands often and to complete a course of antibiotics to prevent complications such as pneumonia.

Children should also stay away from school and adults from work until they have taken antibiotics for 24hours, Fife NHS advises.