Shropshire parents urged to be aware of the signs of scarlet fever as Strep A cases rise

Health bosses are warning parents across Shropshire to be aware of the Strep A virus - which can cause scarlet fever.

We're being warned not to underestimate the virus.
We're being warned not to underestimate the virus.

At least nine children from across the UK have died from the invasive Strep A infection in recent weeks.

While urging parents to seek help of worried, the chief medical officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, says antibiotics can usually treat the virus.

The tragic deaths have not been in one area but spread across the UK, including Liverpool and Belfast.

Nick White, chief medical officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “Over last weekend, we saw increased numbers of parents contacting NHS services about Strep A which causes scarlet fever.

"Although uncomfortable, this virus can usually be treated with antibiotics available from your local GP.

"Please contact 111 online or call 111 for advice and support if you are worried about Strep A.”

Strep A is spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes or from a wound.

It can cause a number of infections from tonsillitis to impetigo.

And it can also lead to scarlet fever.

The NHS says: "The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands. A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later looking like small, raised bumps and starts on the chest and tummy, then spreads.

The rash makes your skin feel rough, like sandpaper."

"Whilst infections are still uncommon, there has been an increase in cases this year, particularly in children under 10 and sadly, a small number of deaths."

The fears over Strep A are adding to presses on NHS services in Shropshire Telford and Wrekin.

Mr White said people could help their local NHS, by using the right service for their needs and getting vaccinated.

"We have seen increased numbers of people presenting with flu and Covid-19 symptoms.

"These viruses should not be underestimated, and to avoid being admitted to hospital this Christmas we are strongly urging everyone who is eligible to come forward and get vaccinated this week," he said.

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