The number of scarlet fever cases in North Somerset have been revealed in data released last week (December 8).

The region has two confirmed cases of the illness and Bristol City also has one further confirmed case.

Group A Streptococcus (GAS), often referred to as Strep A, can lead to various illnesses including scarlet fever, that can be lethal in children.    

Strep A has caused alarm in recent weeks with 15 children now having died as a result of infections caused by it.

An NHS spokesperson said: “Scarlet fever is a contagious infection that mostly affects young children. It's easily treated with antibiotics.

“It’s not unusual for there to be cases in children, particularly over the winter, and these infections are usually mild, but can occasionally cause more serious illness."

Strep A symptoms

The bacteria can be found in the throat and on the skin and people may carry it without displaying any symptoms.

It can live in throats and on hands for long enough to allow easy spread between people through sneezing, kissing and skin contact.

Invasive Strep A can cause further complications. Symptoms include high fever, severe muscle aches, localised muscle tenderness, and redness at the site of a wound.

Dr Yimmy Chow, health protection consultant at UKHSA London, said: “Group A streptococcal infections usually result in mild illness, and information has been shared with parents and staff about the signs and symptoms.

“These include a sore throat, fever and minor skin infections, and can be treated with a full course of antibiotics from the GP. In rare incidences, it can be a severe illness and anyone with high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea should call NHS 111 and seek medical help immediately.”

Symptoms of scarlet fever in a child

The infection can lead to Scarlet Fever. The illness is usually mild, but is highly infectious. 

Symptoms include a sore throat, headache and fever with a characteristic fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.

Scarlet fever lasts for around one week.

You can spread scarlet fever to other people up to six days before you get symptoms until 24 hours after you take your first dose of antibiotics.