Century spreads furiouslyCovid-19 is still far from being over, as an old childhood disease, which is considered highly contagious and in some cases also quite dangerous, is reappearing in increasing numbers, especially in England.
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According to the Sun, scarlet fever outbreaks have occurred in various schools and nurseries in northwest England. According to the arzteblatt, the disease was still one of the most frequent causes of death in small children at the beginning of the last century, but can now be treated well in most cases.
What is scarlet fever? Definition and symptoms
The Federal Center for Health Education defines scarlet fever as a "classic childhood disease that is one of the most common bacterial infectious diseases in this age group". The fact that it is a disease that mainly affects children does not mean that adults are immune to infection.
Those affected often suffer from an acute skin rash (exanthema) due to an infection with A-streptococci, which, however, predominantly develops only after one to three days after an infection and hardly itches or does not itch at all, and sore throats, which are often accompanied by difficulties in swallowing.
If the body temperature rises quite quickly and the child suffers from a so-called raspberry tongue (also known as strawberry tongue) these are further signs of a possible infection with scarlet fever. A white coating is first deposited on the tongue, which dissolves after a few days and causes the tongue to turn red and the papillae to swell significantly. In some cases, sufferers also complain of fatigue, swollen lymph nodes and ear and/or abdominal pain.
Disease from another time?
In the UK, the signs of scarlet fever seem to be particularly often misinterpreted by guardians, as there is a widespread belief that the disease dates back to the Victorian era and has long since been eradicated. However, there is still no scarlet fever vaccine to this day. An infection that has already occurred cannot prevent re-infection. In most cases, the consequences of the disease today are simply less drastic than in the days of Queen Victoria.
Treatment of scarlet fever
The incubation period of scarlet fever is one to three days. If the family doctor confirms the suspicion of infection, antibiotics (often penicillin) are usually taken for ten days.
Dr. Merav Kliner, deputy regional director of the UK Health Security Agency, emphasizes in her interview with the Sun to follow the instructions of the medical staff exactly and gives the readers advice on the way, which can prevent a possible infection (this occurs in most cases via a droplet infection):
It's important to take antibiotics as directed by your primary care physician to minimize the risk of complications. [. ]To limit the spread of scarlet fever, it's important to practice good hygiene by washing hands with warm water and soap, not sharing drinking glasses or utensils, and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Possible complications include pneumonia, meningitis, heart or kidney damage.
Is there a duty to report in case of infection??
If the suspicion of scarlet fever is confirmed, the affected children are initially no longer allowed to attend communal facilities (crèche, school, etc.).) and the respective institutions must be informed about the disease. This is provided for in paragraph 34 of the Infection Protection Act as follows. According to Apothekenumschau, doctors in the German states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia must report every case of illness to the public health department.
Incidentally, those who have once contracted scarlet fever have only limited protection against re-infection. The bacteria that cause the disease can produce various toxins, depending on their strain. Immunity is thus only present with a certain bacterial strain, other toxins of other bacterial strains can trigger the disease again.