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‘Significant rise’ in suspected UK scarlet fever cases brings total to nearly 30,000

The number of suspected scarlet fever cases since September has risen to nearly 30,000 after the UK Health Security Agency added almost 10,000 potential new infections in the last week.

More than 27,000 people could have had infections since 12 September, according to the UKHSA, who revealed on Tuesday that there were more cases than first thought because of the “significant rise” in infections.

The figures come from medical practitioners referring suspected cases to the local authority or health protection team.

A total of 16 children aged under 18 have died from invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS), otherwise known as strep A.

Parents are advised to contact 111 or a GP surgery if a child has symptoms. They can also include nausea and vomiting.

New serious shortage protocols were issued to pharmacists last week in an attempt to help those experiencing supply issues with penicillin.

Chemists had widely reported problems getting hold of liquid penicillin and amoxycillin due to the increase in demand. The antibiotics are often prescribed for children who have scarlet fever or strep A. People in the industry have also reported rising prices.

Pharmacists are now able to prescribe an alternative antibiotic or formulation of penicillin, such as tablets.

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Source: The Guardian, 20 December 2022


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