Scarlet fever outbreaks in Greater Manchester: where they are, symptoms and what parents need to know

Dozens of outbreaks of the illness have been recorded recently in Greater Manchester - here is the latest advice from health experts.

Dozens of outbreaks of scarlet fever have been recorded in Greater Manchester.

The infection, which mostly affects young children, has been spreading at schools and nurseries around the region.

Health experts say the situation is being monitored but outbreaks of scarlet fever are not that uncommon.

However, parents have been told that they do need to act quickly if their child gets in and have been given some useful health advice.

What does the data show on scarlet fever in Greater Manchester?

Scarlet fever is one of a number of infectious disease which have to be reported when they occur.

The weekly report for the week ending 13 March showed 39 outbreaks of scarlet fever reported in Greater Manchester.

There were seven in Bolton, five in Manchester, six in Oldham, six in Salford, five in Stockport, three in Tameside and seven in Wigan.

Altogether 94 outbreaks of scarlet fever were reported across the North West.

What is scarlet fever?

Scarlet fever is a contagious infection that mostly affects young children.

Fortunately, though, it is easily treated with antibiotics.

The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands (a large lump on the side of the neck).

A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later. It looks looks like small, raised bumps and starts on the chest and tummy, then spreads. The rash makes the skin feel rough, like sandpaper.

What advice have parents been given?

Experts at the UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) have told parents what they need to do if their child develops scarlet fever.

They also said that while the current situation is being monitored outbreaks of the infection are not unusual.

Dr Merav Kliner, interim regional deputy director for the North West at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “It’s not uncommon to see a rise in cases of scarlet fever at this time of year and we are continuing to monitor rates of infection across the North West.

“Scarlet fever is highly contagious but not usually serious and is easily treatable with antibiotics to reduce the risk of complications and spread to others.

“It is important to take antibiotics, as instructed by your GP, to minimise the risk of complications.

“The UKHSA reminds parents to be aware of the symptoms of scarlet fever and to call their GP or NHS 111 for further advice or assessment if they think their child might have it.

“To limit the spread of scarlet fever it is important to practice good hygiene by washing hands with warm water and soap, not sharing drinking glasses or utensils, and covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.”