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Stowmarket: Warning after Combs Middle School pupil contracts scarlet fever

PUBLISHED: 06:22 04 April 2014 | UPDATED: 06:37 04 April 2014

A generic photograph of a GP assessing a child patient

A generic photograph of a GP assessing a child patient

Archant

Health bosses are warning parents to be alert for children with symptoms of scarlet fever after a Suffolk pupil contracted the contagious virus.

Alert text messages were sent to parents yesterday after a child at Combs Middle School, in Stowmarket, was confirmed to have picked up the rare illness.

Nearby Combs Ford Primary School has also given out warnings after a concerned parent informed the school their child had a suspected case of scarlet fever.

Combs Middle said their pupil had a “mild case” of the virus which is characterised by a red or pink rash.

The NHS describe scarlet fever as “extremely contagious” but Suffolk County Council said they had not been notified of a “significant” level in schools.

A county spokeswoman said: “We work alongside Public Health England to monitor the number of people diagnosed with scarlet fever. As with other similar conditions, we are notified if this exceeds expected levels.

“If this is the case in any given area, or school, we are immediately notified and take additional action accordingly.”

Public Health England, part of the Department of Health, said East Anglia and Essex had seen a rise in cases of almost 30% for 2013/14 compared to the previous year – from 140 cases to 180.

That picture is replicated across the country with 3,548 new cases since September being reported in contrast to an average of just 1,420 for the same period in the previous 10 years.

It is spread through saliva and can be caught by being in contact with infected drinking glasses, plates or utensils.

Katrina Browning is a parent of a child who attends the primary school. She said: “I’m not concerned about the recent cases because it is my understanding that it has been very mild.”

She said she had confidence in the school’s system for informing parents if there was an outbreak.

Scarlet fever is an infectious illness caused by group A streptococcus bacterium.

The first symptoms often include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Between 12 to 48 hours after this, a rash develops. Cases are more common in children although adults can also develop it.

Symptoms usually clear up after a week and the majority of cases can be treated with a course of antibiotics to reduce risk of complications.

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