Headteacher offers reassurance to families as Scarlet Fever confirmed among children

Reassurance - Home Farm headteacher Richard Potter, inset, has thanked parents for being responsible <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Reassurance - Home Farm headteacher Richard Potter, inset, has thanked parents for being responsible (Image: Newsquest)

A PRIMARY school headteacher has offered reassurance to families after a minor outbreak of Scarlet Fever.

Home Farm, in Colchester, has seen “a small number of children” catch the infection.

Headteacher Richard Potter has said the school, in Shelley Road, Lexden, has been deep cleaned in a bid to limit infection.

He praised parents for being “responsible and proactive” in their response to the issue.

Mr Potter said: “Like all schools, when cases of Scarlett Fever are found those cases are reportable to the UK Health Security Agency and guidance is given by that body.

“At Home Farm, we have a responsible and proactive parent community and so we were able to gather guidance and respond very quickly.

Gazette: Headteacher - Richard Potter
Gazette: Headteacher - Richard Potter

Headteacher - Richard Potter (Image: Newsquest)

“With a heightened awareness of any new cases, we have taken steps to restrict further spread wherever we can.”

Health officials have reported a surge in cases of Scarlet Fever, an infection caused by Strep A which mostly affects young children and can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Concerns are growing as at least nine children have now died with a Strep A infection across the UK.

Government figures show there were 19 cases reported across Essex in the last full week of November.

A letter sent to families by Mr Potter, seen by the Gazette, said handwashing is “regular” among pupils and staff.

It reads: “Even though for most children this is a mild illness, please be reassured that we have a programme of regular handwashing and deep cleans in place to limit infection.”

Gazette: Primary school - Home Farm
Gazette: Primary school - Home Farm

Primary school - Home Farm (Image: Google)

The symptoms of Scarlet fever include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.

This is followed by a fine red rash which typically first appears on the chest and stomach, before spreading to other parts of the body.

According to data from the UKHSA, cases are higher than usually seen at this time of year.

Between November 14 and 20 there were 851 cases reported, compared to an average of 186 for the preceding years.

Those infected can spread Scarlet Fever to other people up to six days before they get symptoms until 24 hours after they take their first dose of antibiotics.