UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Update on Scarlet Fever and Invasive Group A Strep

The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that scarlet fever cases continue to remain higher than we would typically see at this time of year.

UK health officials are advising schools on how to combat Strep A infections.

Since Covid restrictions eased, there are more opportunities for infections like this to spread. Cases have been increasing in recent weeks.

While most people do not get extremely sick, the highly contagious bacteria that causes the infection can cause serious illness and complications.

What is Strep A?

It’s a bacteria sometimes found in the throat or on the skin.

Many people carry it harmlessly without even knowing, but they can spread it to others who might become ill.


How can you get it?

People can catch it through close contact and from coughs and sneezes.

Outbreaks can sometimes happen in places like schools and care homes.

What are the symptoms?

Most often, symptoms are mild – a sore throat or a skin infection that can be easily treated with antibiotics.

But Strep A can cause a range of things – and some of them are more serious.

One is scarlet fever, which mostly affects young children and, again, needs antibiotics.

Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, but it is highly infectious.

Therefore, look out for symptoms in your child, which include:

  • a sore throat,
  • headache,
  • swollen neck glands,
  • fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.
  • On darker skin, the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel.
  • Someone who has scarlet fever may have what doctors call a strawberry tongue – because its appearance looks a bit like a strawberry.

Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because early treatment of scarlet fever with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.

If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.

How dangerous is Strep A (GAS) and am I at any increased risk of this disease?

It can be a serious illness, but if treated promptly with antibiotics, it is less of a threat. After at least 24 hours of antibiotics, it is generally thought to no longer be contagious.

Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important for stopping the spread of many bugs. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up or spreading infections.

What should you do if you have symptoms?

Contact your GP and get medical advice straight away if you believe you or your child have symptoms of either GAS or iGAS.

Strep throat should be different from a regular sore throat, as the pain can come on quickly.

Dr Colin Brown, Deputy Director, UKHSA, said:

It is important that parents are on the lookout for symptoms and see a doctor as quickly as possible so that their child can be treated and we can stop the infection becoming serious.

Make sure you talk to a health professional if your child is showing signs of deteriorating after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.

Trading Standards – Electrical Safety Concerns

As the colder months arrive and the cost of living continues to increase, charity Electrical Safety First have warned about the risks of unsafe and incorrect use of electrical, portable heaters.

Although electric heaters were not inherently dangerous, they could cause devastating fires if not used with care. Fan heaters pose a greater risk in the home.

Electrical Safety First is urging people using heaters to ensure:

  • the device is on a level surface, well away from anything or anyone that could knock it over
  • it is well away from combustible materials, such as paper, furniture or curtains
  • it is never used to dry clothes
  • it is never left unattended for long periods while in use, or while you are asleep
  • extension leads are not used to power a heater as they can easily be overloaded
  • you regularly inspect your heater for damage and deterioration

For further information and advice from Electrical Safety First, please visit:

Electrical Safety First – The UK’s Electrical Safety Experts

For the full article raising awareness of this issue please visit:
Cost of living: Electric heaters may pose fire risks despite savings – BBC News

Please remember to report any scam to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040.
If you have actually been the victim of a trader or scam such as the above and need help, or you require consumer advice, please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 0808 223 1133

Blood Donor Appeal

NHS Blood and Transplant has issued an amber alert on blood stocks and asked hospitals to put measures in place to ensure that blood remains available for those in greatest need.

Hospitals will continue to carry out any urgent, emergency or trauma surgery, cancer surgery, transplant surgery and blood transfusions to treat people with long term conditions, but this could mean making difficult decisions to postpone some non-urgent elective surgeries.

We’re currently asking O positive and O negative donors who live or work near our Donor Centres in Bradford, Bristol, Liverpool, London Tooting, London Westfield Stratford City, Luton and Southampton to book a slot and asking all other donors to please keep any appointments already booked.

Donors can help by filling empty appointments at permanent donor centres in towns and cities which have extended hours and greater capacity. O blood groups are in particular need.

Each donation can save or improve up to three lives.

The amber alert will last initially for four weeks which should enable blood stocks to be rebuilt.

Blood can only be stored for 35 days, which means there is a constant need for donations – and a need for specific blood types. The NHS Blood and Transplant appointment system carefully balances the supply of blood with the changing demand from patients and hospitals. Collecting too much blood and the wrong type would mean lifesaving blood is wasted and hospitals may not have the right type available for patients when they need it.

NHS Blood and Transplant is working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, the other UK blood services and hospitals to manage the current stock shortage.

New to Donation? 
Find out more about giving blood for the first time.

Please visit the Give Blood Website for more information or to register or sign in to your account.

NHS Covid Vaccine Van Visit – 17 October

Shirley Neighbourhood Care Scheme has arranged for the NHS (Covid) Vaccine Van to attend at West Wickham & Shirley Baptist Church from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday 17 October.

Who can use this service
This mobile service is for these groups:

  • 65 years old and over
  • health and social care staff
  • those at higher risk or who are pregnant
  • people who have or live with someone who has a weakened immune system

When you arrive, the staff will ask you questions to ensure you’re only offered suitable vaccines.

Please contact SNCS to advise them you wish to attend, so that the NHS staff can ensure an adequate supply of the Covid vaccine.

SNCS’s telephone number is 020 8662 9599 and their email address is

You can also book a Covid-19 Autumn Booster online or via 111.