Concerns over increase in scarlet fever in UK

Health authorities have expressed concern over the recent increase in reported cases of scarlet fever infections in South West England (counties of Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall, as well as the Isles of Scilly). Although the number of reported cases is not large, the total has risen by more than 50 per cent in the last week to reach a 50 year high.

Advice For Travellers

Scarlet fever is caused by streptococcus bacteria that can cause serious illness. Symptoms include sore throat, headache, and fever with a pinkish/red sandpapery rash appearing within a day or 2. The rash usually first appears on the chest and stomach before spreading to other parts of the body. Scarlet fever is highly contagious and children aged 2 to 8 are most at risk. The infection can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

While the risk for the general traveller is low, anyone who develops the symptoms of scarlet fever should seek medical advice as soon as possible.