We have had a confirmed diagnoses of Scarlet Fever within the school. Please read the details below from the Ministry of Health to give you more information.

Scarlet fever is a condition caused by Streptococcus A bacteria. It affects people with recent strep throat infection or school sores that are caused by the same bacteria.

Key points

  1. It affects mostly children under the age of 10; however, anyone can get it.
  2. Symptoms usually start suddenly with a fever and sore throat, then a pink rash that starts on your chest and tummy and spreads across your whole body.
  3. Scarlet fever can be diagnosed with a throat swab or a blood test. It is treated with antibiotics.
  4. People with scarlet fever should stay home from school, for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics.
  5. Careful handwashing is key to preventing the spread of scarlet fever.

What are the symptoms of scarlet fever?

Symptoms usually start 1–3 days after contact with the bacteria.

  • The illness usually begins with fever and a sore throat. There may also be vomiting and tummy pain.
  • A rash usually starts 1–2 days after the illness begins.
  • The tongue may get a white coating with red spots, often called ‘strawberry tongue’. Once this coating comes off the tongue is bright red.
  • The scarlet fever rash usually fades in 7 days, and there is usually some skin peeling as the rash fades.

How is scarlet fever diagnosed?

Your doctor will take a history and do a physical examination. Scarlet fever can be diagnosed through:

  • a blood test to test for the presence of Streptococcus A antibodies
  • a throat swab to test for the presence of Streptococcus A bacteria.

How is scarlet fever treated?

See your doctor if you think you or your child may have scarlet fever. Early treatment can prevent the illness from getting severe.
Antibiotics are the treatment for scarlet fever. If your illness is mild, you will be given oral antibiotics.