Urgent warning to parents to be alert for the signs of Victorian diseases as cases rise in kids

PARENTS have been urged to be on the look out for signs of Victorian diseases in children as cases continue to rise.

Scarlet fever has been causing unusually large outbreaks in recent years.

In the last month the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) has been keeping a close eye on infection rates, which are highest in the North West of England.

Across the region, there have been 914 cases between September and March.

Now one local areas has warned that cases are currently above pre-pandemic levels.

Public health officials in Warrington are now working with schools to reduce transmission of the disease.

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Cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Cllr Maureen McLaughlin said that the rise in the area has been inline with the rest of the North West.

"This is since the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and the move closer to pre-pandemic levels of social mixing.

"While there could be a variety of factors driving this, our reduced exposure to bacteria and viruses during the pandemic may mean that we are experiencing an immunity deficit to some illnesses, leading to a higher susceptibility of infection.

"Although incidents of scarlet fever are relatively low, this includes a higher incidence of reported cases than pre-pandemic levels in Warrington," she told the Warrington Guardian.

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Cllr McLaughlin added that officials have shared information with schools and parents on the signs to look out for.

There are three key symptoms of scarlet fever you need to be aware of:

  • A high temperature
  • A sore throat and swollen neck glands
  • A bumpy, rough feeling rash usually appears after 12 to 48 hours on the chest and tummy.

If your child is showing these signs, you should contact your GP or NHS 111.

Your child may first appear as if they have flu, with a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or over.

Other symptoms include a white coating on the tongue, which peels a few days after appearing, leaving the tongue red and swollen, known as “strawberry tongue”.

Kids should be kept off school or nursery for 24 hours after their first antibiotic.

The same goes for working adults who might have caught the bug, who should stay out of the office.

Cllr McLaughlin said officials are currently working closely with local NHS healthcare services and partners to monitor patterns of infection and develop appropriate interventions.

The UKHSA said there has been a rise in Victorian diseases, such as scarlet fever and chicken pox, as children continue to mix freely.

To date, a total of 3,488 cases of scarlet fever have been identified.

This is compared to the last season, between 2020 and 2021, where only 1,791 cases were reported across the 12 month period.

Rates have been highest in the North West, followed by the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands.

They are lowest in the South West and the South East.

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Medics have said that around 89 per cent of the children that have become ill have been under the age of 10.

Scarlett fever is treated with antibiotics and this can help reduce the risk of complications and limit onward transmission.

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