Strep A & Scarlet Fever

What is Strep A?

  • Strep A is a bacteria that causes a mild infection which can be treated with
  • antibiotics
  • It can cause some illnesses including a sore throat, scarlet fever, and
  • impetigo (skin rash)
  • It can in very rare cases become serious and affect children’s lungs and blood

Symptoms of scarlet fever and Strep A

  • Early symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, headache, fever
  • After 12 to 48 hours, red, tiny (like a pin) rash develops, usually on child’s chest and tummy. Sometimes the rash spreads to other parts of their body
  • Skin will feel rougher and scratchier than normal (like sandpaper)
  • Cheeks might feel flushed and children might be pale around their mouths.
  • It may look is different in darker skins but the feel is the same

What to do if someone has symptoms

  • Call 111 or your GP to find out the reason for the symptoms and get treatment
  • Stay at home to reduce the chance of giving other people the infection
  • If a child or adult is diagnosed with Strep A (eg scarlet fever), they should stay home until 24 hours after starting antibiotics
  • Antibiotics should be taken for as long as the GP prescribed - even if someone feels better
  • If your child is having difficulty breathing or turning blue call 999

What to do to reduce the risk of getting or spreading Strep A

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds
  • Use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes
  • Keep away from others when feeling unwell
  • Have your flu and COVID vaccines and childhood vaccines

Why are there more cases of Strep A at the moment

  • There are some ideas about why (eg people mixing more) but it isn’t yet clear why there are more cases
  • The number of cases becoming serious is NOT higher than in the past
  • For almost everyone, Strep A causes a mild disease that is easily treatable
  • There are more cases of Strep A so there are more cases of serious Strep A (invasive group A Strep)