Renfrewshire Council

Advice on Group A strep infections

General information for parents/carers at schools or nurseries on Group A Strep infection

There has been a recent increase in numbers of cases of Group A streptococcal infection and scarlet fever in Scotland and around the UK.

Below is some information about this condition and the signs to look out for with your child.

Schools and nurseries have been issued with advice from NHS public health around measures to help minimise the risk of infection spreading.

What Group A strep infection and scarlet fever are

Group A Streptococcus are bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the throat. Under some circumstances these bacteria can cause a wide range of symptoms, including scarlet fever, strep throat, tonsillitis and impetigo.

You can read more on Group A Strep on the NHS Inform website.

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that mainly affects children, and is caused by Group Strep A bacteria. Symptoms include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, followed by a fine red rash which typically first appears on the chest and stomach, then spreads.

You can read more on scarlet fever on the NHS Inform website.

What you need to do

If you think your child has a Group A strep infection or scarlet fever, you should:

  • contact your GP (or NHS 111) as soon as possible
  • make sure they take the full course of any antibiotics prescribed
  • keep your child at home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics, to avoid spreading infection.

If your child has no symptoms, they can attend school or nursery as normal.

If your child has been in contact with someone who has Group A strep infection or scarlet fever, they do not need to isolate or stay away from school or nursery, unless they develop symptoms.

General advice to minimise spread

To minimise the spread of scarlet fever and other infections, everyone should:

  • wash your hands with soap and water throughout the day
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • make sure any wounds or scrapes are thoroughly cleaned and covered.

Children who have had chickenpox recently are at higher risk of serious infection during an outbreak of scarlet fever.

If your child has an underlying condition which affects their immune system, you should contact their GP or hospital doctor to discuss whether any additional measures are needed.

This information has been written in consultation with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde public health team.