Wigan's outbreak of scarlet fever hasn't gone away, says health chief

A shock outbreak of scarlet fever which hit several Wigan schools earlier this year has not got any worse – but it hasn’t cleared up either, the borough’s public health chief says.

By Charles Graham
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 12:34 pm

Families are being urged still to be on their guard against the potentially serious childhood illness that was first reported by Wigan Today in March.

At that time it was revealed that three schools had been affected by the highly contagious condition.

It is a cause for concern, as it is an infection which is not particularly common and can become serious if not treated.

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Scarlet Fever rash

Prof Kate Ardern, director for public health, said: "Since the initial small number of cases reported a few weeks ago, we've not had any further increase."However, cases are still higher than what we would normally expect to see, so we are still encouraging parents and carers to be vigilant and to contact their GP or NHS 111 if they spot their child has any symptoms.

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"Our health protection teams are currently working with our early years settings across the borough to minimise the spread. We have provided infection prevention and control advice to our early years and school settings, including advising that the child is sent home to isolate, and carrying out any contract tracing to identify where the spread may have occurred in our communities.

"Hand hygiene and cough hygiene washing is one of the most important ways of controlling the spread of the majority of infections. Covering the nose and mouth during sneezing and coughing can reduce the spread of infections.

"We're working hard with our partners to best protect our communities."

The symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.

This is followed by a fine red rash which typically first appears on the chest and stomach, spreading to other parts of the body.

Your child may also have what is called a strawberry tongue, and this is also a sign that your child may have scarlet fever.

People with scarlet fever can be contagious for up to six days before they get symptoms, meaning they are unaware they are spreading the infection.