Twenty-one people in Berkshire have contracted scarlet fever in recent weeks, figures have revealed.
Data released by the UK Health and Security Agency in a weekly report documenting notifications of infectious diseases revealed the number of people who contracted infectious diseases in the week ending December 4.
The report discloses that Bracknell Forest has seen two cases of scarlet fever, Reading has seen five, Slough has one, West Berkshire has one, and Wokingham has five.
Windsor and Maidenhead have seen the most cases in the area with seven having been reported.
The news comes as 15 children under the age of 15 have died from invasive Strep A illness in the UK.
One of which tragically happened in neighbouring Buckinghamshire, where four-year-old Muhammad Ibrahim Ali died at his home in High Wycombe on Monday, November 14, after suffering a cardiac arrest.
The family were told he had iGAS in his blood stream for a month.
What is scarlet fever?
Scarlet fever is caused by bacteria called Group A streptococci (Strep A). The condition is highly infectious but the bacteria usually causes a mild infection that can be easily treated with antibiotics.
In very rare occasions, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause an illness called invasive Group A strep (iGAS).
What is Strep A?
Group A streptococcus (or Strep A) is known to cause scarlet fever, throat infections and, in very rare cases, invasive disease.
This can occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where it is not usually found, such as the blood, muscle or the lungs.
It can happen if the bacteria get past a person’s defences, such as through an open wound or when a person’s immune system is depleted.
Most people who come into contact with the bacteria remain well and symptom-free.
Strep A symptoms
The bacteria can be found in the throat and on the skin and people may carry it without displaying any symptoms.
It can live in throats and on hands for long enough to allow easy spread between people through sneezing, kissing and skin contact.
Invasive Strep A can cause further complications.
- high fever
- severe muscle aches
- localised muscle tenderness
- redness at site of a wound
Anyone experiencing high fever, severe muscle aches, pain in one area of the body and unexplained vomiting or diarrhoea should call NHS 111 and seek medical help immediately.