Scarlet fever case confirmed in Peabody

News editor

A single case of scarlet fever was confirmed last week at Peabody-Burns Elementary School.

Principal Ken Parry said the case was in preschool. The school sent a note home with students, notifying parents that the illness had been confirmed. He said there had been no additional reports of scarlet fever.

“I think it’s been isolated,” Parry said.

Scarlet fever — also known as scarlatina — is a bacterial infection caused by group A strep bacteria. It affects a small portion of people with strep throat or strep skin infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is treatable with antibiotics and usually is a mild illness, but it needs to be treated to prevent rare but potentially life-threatening complications, the CDC says. It most commonly affects children ages 5 to 12. The classic symptom is not the fever, but a certain type of red rash that feels rough, like sandpaper.

Other symptoms include:

  • A very red, sore throat.
  • A fever of 101 degrees or higher.
  • Bright red skin in the underarm, elbow, and groin creases.
  • A whitish coating on the tongue or back of the throat.
  • A red and bumpy tongue.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Swollen glands.
  • Body aches.

Group A strep bacteria are spread through contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. The best way to prevent infection is to wash your hands often and avoid sharing eating utensils, linens, towels, or other personal items, the CDC says.

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