Scarlet fever is caused by bacteria called Group A streptococci (Strep A). The bacteria usually cause a mild infection that can be easily treated with antibiotics.
In very rare occasions, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause an illness called invasive Group A strep (iGAS).
Strep A infections can cause a range of symptoms, including:
• Sore throat
• A fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel
• On darker skin the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel
If a student becomes unwell with these symptoms, they/their guardian should contact their GP practice or contact NHS 111 (which operates a 24/7 service) to seek advice. However, guardians should trust their own judgement and if their child seems seriously unwell call 999 or go to A&E.
If a student has scarlet fever, they should stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.
To prevent the spread of Strep A, UKHSA advises, young people and staff to implement good hand and respiratory hygiene practices.