By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: May 9, 2019 | 5:55 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – Some parents of children who attend school in Dinwiddie are being asked to be vigilant and monitor their child’s health after a young student was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever.
According to Dinwiddie County Public Schools spokesperson Christie Clarke, the school division was made aware of the case via the local health department office, who provided a letter that was sent home “to the parents of students who are in the same kindergarten class or ride the same bus as the diagnosed student” Thursday afternoon.
In their letter, Virginia Department of Health Crater Health District Epidemiologist Nikkia Ray explained to parents that Scarlet Fever “refers to the rash and accompanying symptoms caused by the group A strep bacteria,” which is the same bacteria that causes Strep throat. This strep lives in the nose and throat area and can spread easily via coughing or sneezing, which creates droplets that contain the bacteria.
People can be sickened by the bacteria by breathing in the droplets, touching something with the droplets on it and then touching their mouth or nose, drinking or eating from the same surfaces as a sick person or touching sores on the skin caused by the bacteria.
“In general, Scarlet Fever is a mild infection,” Ray detailed to parents in the health department’s letter. “It usually takes two to five days for someone exposed to group A strep to become sick. Illness usually begins with a fever or sore throat. There may also be chills, vomiting, or abdominal pain. One to two days after the illness begins, a red rash usually appears. The rash may first appear on the neck, underarm, or groin, but over time, spreads over the body.”
The health department advised the parents who received the letter to evaluate their children for any signs of the infection and if they suspect an infection is present, reach out to their child’s physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.
“The best way to keep from getting or spreading group A strep is to wash your hands often and practice good hygiene when coughing or sneezing,” Ray detailed. “People with scarlet fever should stay home from work, school, or daycare until they no longer have a fiver and have taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours.”
Those with questions can reach out to the Dinwiddie Health Department at 804-469-3771 or contact their child’s physician.