Health board has no detail on possible scarlet fever cases

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Several areas of the UK have been reporting high levels of scarlet fever - said in one account to be at their highest level since the 1960’s - but local detail is lacking.

This is because the highly contagious infection is not reported in Scotland (or Northern Ireland) as in England and Wales.

Commenting on the situation in Forth Valley, a spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said: “An increased prevalence of scarlet fever has been reported across the UK as a whole.

“This is not unusual as the pattern of this disease is to show a seasonal increase at this time of year.

“Scarlet fever in Scotland is not a notifiable disease as it is in England.

“Because of this we do not know where cases are occurring, but we have not had any reports of a large scale outbreak in Forth Valley”.

NHS Forth Valley, asked about potential hospital cases, says there are currently none in Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s children’s ward.

Scarlet fever is not the potentially deadly threat posed to some sufferers in decades past, and can be treated with antibiotics, but there are no figures available for how it is currently affecting Scotland.

Reports from down south suggest a substantial rise in the number of cases over the winter, with more than 6,200 cases reported between September and the end of January.

A report in Which? magazine says it’s been suggested the apparently high number of cases reported in England may be explained by increased awareness and reporting.

Scarlet fever is most common in younger children, and its symptoms can include soaring temperature, swollen tongue, and a rash that feels rough to the touch.

Anyone who suspects their child may have scarlet fever is generally advised to keep them at home, to prevent the spread of infection, and to contact their GP.