Scarlet Fever and Chicken Pox Briefing Note
We have seen a recent increase in scarlet fever notifications and GP consultations and GP consultations for chicken pox. Evidence suggests that chicken pox is the most common risk factor for IGAS (invasive group A streptococcal disease) in children. Whilst IGAS remains below average, important that scarlet fever and other presentations of GAS such as impetigo and sore throat are treated promptly with the appropriate antibiotics to limit spread and avoid complications.
Please see the briefing note for further details.
Health professionals should be reminded of the available guidance and the need to take the following actions if scarlet fever or other GAS presentations are suspected:
- prescribe an appropriate treatment course of antibiotics promptly (and this should not await the results of any swabs taken)
- advise exclusion from nursery/school/work for at least 24 hours after the commencement of appropriate antibiotic treatment
- consider taking a throat swab to assist with differential diagnosis (for example to differentiate scarlet fever from measles or rubella) or if the patient is:
o thought to be part of an outbreak
o allergic to penicillin, GAS can be resistant to non-penicillin options such as macrolides and clindamycin. Determining antimicrobial susceptibility will facilitate an appropriate treatment change if required.
o in regular contact with vulnerable individuals e.g. health and adult social care workers. People who are vulnerable to invasive GAS include those who are immunocompromised, have comorbidities, women in the late stage of pregnancy, or those with skin diseases.