A PRIMARY school in Hereford has confirmed it has seen a case of scarlet fever, which is linked to Strep A – the infection behind nine child deaths in the UK in recent weeks.

Marlbrook Primary School, in Green Croft, Redhill, said there had been a case of scarlet fever within the school/nursery, which is affiliated with Little Dewchurch CE Primary School and St Martin's, in Hollybush Walk.

It wrote to parents and carers at all three schools to say their child might have been exposed.

It is one of 14 cases found in Herefordshire over the past four weeks, according to UK Health Security Agency figures.


The lead first aiders at the school, which has around 640 pupils aged between three and 11 said scarlet fever is a scattered red rash and high temperatures caused by bacteria.

Prompt treatment with an antibiotic usually prevents further complications and will also prevent the spread to others.

It is normally uncommon in the UK nowadays, they said, but this winter has seen increases.

Scarlet fever is also known as Scarlatina, although this often refers to a milder form of the disease. It usually follows a sore throat or a skin infection (impetigo) caused by particular strains of streptococcus bacteria.


The pair said scarlet fever is very infectious and can easily spread to other people.

The first aiders, Sue Williams and Jo Davies, said a child can return to school when well, but only after at least 24 hours of antibiotic treatment or 14 days after the onset of symptoms.

They said that scarlet fever is caused by bacteria called group A streptococci.

These bacteria also cause other respiratory and skin infections such as strep throat and impetigo.

In very rare occasions, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause an illness called invasive Group A strep (iGAS).

While still uncommon, there has been an increase in invasive Group A strep cases this year, particularly in children under 10.

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To prevent scarlet fever from spreading, the first aiders said children should wash their hands thoroughly regularly, and any shared plates and dishes should also be washed thoroughly.

Items such as cups, straws, spoons, eating utensils and toothbrushes should also not be shared.

Scarlet fever cases in Herefordshire

Data released by the UKHSA has revealed how many cases of scarlet fever have been reported in Herefordshire.

In the last month, from November 7 to December 4, there has been a total of 14 cases, with 23 in neighbouring Worcestershire.

Six of these cases came in the last week.

Week ending December 4: six cases

Week ending November 27: five cases

Week ending November 20: three cases

Week ending November 13: no cases

Parents should be on the lookout for symptoms

Downing Street has urged parents to be on the “lookout” for symptoms of Strep A bacteria after a rise in infections, with the infection now linked to nine deaths in the UK over recent weeks.

Officials said they can “fully understand” parents’ concerns, but stressed the NHS is “well prepared” for such situations.


Asked about the recent rise in cases, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We are seeing a higher number of cases of Group A strep this year compared to usual.

“The bacteria we know causes a mild infection which is easily treated with antibiotics and in rare circumstances it can get into the bloodstream and cause serious illness.

“It is still uncommon, but it’s important parents are on the lookout for symptoms.

“But the NHS is well prepared to deal with situations like this, working with the UK Health Security Agency.”

He said any parents who are concerned should contact the NHS.