Parent LetterClick on a date below to read the letter.
22nd June 2023:
Dear Parents / Carers,
We have been informed that several children who attend Manorfield Primary School have been diagnosed with a number of different infectious diseases including confirmed Group A strep infections and chickenpox.
We have contacted our local Health Protection team, who have provided us with the following advice to share with you. Please do not worry – we are sharing this for your information to help keep your children safe.
Chickenpox is a common childhood illness. It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters. They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off. To prevent spreading the infection, keep children off nursery or school until all the spots have crusted over.
For most children, chickenpox is a mild illness that gets better on its own. But some children can become more seriously ill and need to see a doctor. Contact your GP straight away if your child develops any abnormal symptoms, for example:
Group A Strep infections
- Most Group A Streptococcus illnesses are relatively mild, with symptoms including a sore throat ("strep throat"), scarlet fever or a skin infection such as impetigo.
- If you suspect you child has a “strep throat” or impetigo they will need to see your GP or contact NHS111 as they will require antibiotic treatment.
Children who have recently had chickenpox infection are more at risk of developing serious infection during an outbreak of scarlet fever and so parents should remain vigilant for symptoms such as a persistent high fever, cellulitis (skin infection) and joint redness, pain or swelling. If you are concerned for any reason, then please seek medical assistance immediately.
Scarlet fever is a common childhood infection caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS). It is also a mild childhood illness but unlike chickenpox, requires antibiotic treatment. 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, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body. The face can be flushed red but pale around the mouth. As the rash fades the skin on the fingertips, toes and groin area can peel. On brown and black skin, it might be harder to see a change in colour, but you can still feel the sandpaper-like texture of the rash and see the raised bumps
If you think your child has scarlet fever:
- See your GP or contact NHS 111 as soon as possible. It is also preferable that a throat swab is taken to confirm the diagnosis.
- Make sure that your child takes the full course of any antibiotics prescribed by the doctor/healthcare professional.
- Anyone with symptoms suggestive of scarlet fever should stay at home, away from nursery, school, childcare setting or work for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment, to avoid spreading the infection.
If your child has an underlying condition which affects their immune system, you should contact your GP or hospital doctor to discuss whether any additional measures are needed.
Invasive Group A Strep (iGAS)
The same bacteria which cause scarlet fever can also cause a range of other types of infection such as skin infections (impetigo) and sore throat. In very rare cases, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause an illness called invasive group A strep (iGAS). Whilst still very uncommon, there has been an increase in iGAS cases this year, particularly in children under 10 years old. It is very rare for children with scarlet fever to develop iGAS infection.
As a parent, you should trust your own judgement.
Further information on Group A Strep, Scarlet Fever and Chickenpox are also available via the NHS website (www.nhs.uk):
As a result of the cases that have been reported, we are taking a number of measures at Manorfield to help reduce the spread of any infection. This includes, increasing the amount of handwashing for children and staff, suspending some activities (e.g. sand play and play-doh), water fountains will continue to be switched off (please provide your child with an individual water bottle which they can refill using the taps in classrooms). We will keep this under constant review and may introduce further measures.
I thank you in advance for your on-going support. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.