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Parents to receive advisory letters after scarlet fever case reported at St George's primary in Minster, Sheppey.

School bosses have sent letters warning parents that a pupil has been struck down with scarlet fever.

St George’s primary in Minster on the Isle of Sheppey confirmed one child is currently absent due to the condition and will remain so for a mandatory 48 hours.

A spokesman for the school in Chequers Road, said no other pupils had been diagnosed and Public Health England (PHE) had been alerted.

St George's Primary School, Chequers Road, Minster
St George's Primary School, Chequers Road, Minster

She said letters on behalf of the government body were being sent to parents today, advising on symptoms.

Earlier this month, PHE announced a "steep" increase in the number of scarlet fever cases in the UK.

In the first six weeks of 2015, 1,265 people were diagnosed nationwide.

Of these, 84 were reported in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, a 40% increase on 2014.

A child with scarlet fever. Stock image.
A child with scarlet fever. Stock image.

PHE said better awareness and diagnosis may have contributed to the increase, but it was still a cause “of concern”.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said: “As scarlet fever is highly contagious, children or adults diagnosed are advised to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection.

“For families and friends caring for someone with scarlet fever, the risk of spread can be reduced through frequent hand washing and ensuring clothes, bedding, towels and cutlery are not shared between members of the household.”

St George's Primary School.
St George's Primary School.

Early symptoms of the disease often include a sore throat, headache, a temperature over 38.3C, nausea and vomiting.

After 12 to 48 hours, a fine red rash develops – which feels like sandpaper – and spreads from the stomach and chest to the rest of the body.

It can also cause a strawberry red coloured tongue.

The bacteria are carried in saliva and mucus, meaning it can be spread by sneezing, coughing or breathing out.

Children aged between two and eight are most commonly affected.

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