Parents warned of scarlet fever at Wellington primary school Thursday, 18 August 2016

Source: Stuff, 18 August 2016

Newtown School has warned parents there has been a case of scarlet fever at the school. 

It told parents the news via its Facebook page, and sent an information sheet home with children from the same learning group as the infected child. 

Principal Mark Brown said one child had scarlet fever, and had been at home during the infectious stage of the sickness. 

The child's parents had told the school, which was "pre-arming" parents with good information, he said. 

Medical officer of health Jill McKenzie said the school had let its public health nurse know about the case of scarlet fever. 

It was caused by the same streptococcal bacteria that caused a sore throat and, as with any throat infection, children should visit a doctor who could prescribe antibiotics if necessary, which would start to work within 24 hours.  

"People need to stay home if they feel unwell." 

It was a bug that went from person to person through coughing, and parents did not need to worry that children would catch it through any surfaces at Newtown School. 

What differentiated scarlet fever from strep throat was a rash, which was the body's reaction to the bacteria. 

"Generally, if someone has scarlet fever, they're feeling pretty unwell and miserable."

Strep throat was not a common illness, and it was even rarer for people to get a rash and be diagnosed as having scarlet fever.

Symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat, high temperature, vomiting and a red rash. It can appear quite suddenly, and has an incubation period of one to three days in children. 

It is spread through coughing and sneezing, and contaminated hands, food and food utensils.