The outbreak of scarlet fever in the UK is much larger than previously thought | Daily News Byte

The outbreak of scarlet fever in the UK is much larger than previously thought

 | Daily News Byte

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(Bloomberg) — An outbreak of scarlet fever in the UK that has prompted shortages of some antibiotics is more widespread than previously thought, with nearly 27,000 cases now reported since mid-September.

According to the UK Health Security Agency, more than 9,000 cases of illness caused by group A streptococcus bacteria were reported in England and Wales in recent weeks. The agency also updated earlier figures to add about 10,000 cases occurring in November and early December.

The improvement is due to delays in reporting for the illness, which is usually mild but can cause a sore throat and rash, the agency said. Data on invasive strep A, a more serious condition caused by the same pathogen, are unaffected, it said.

The UK last week imposed “severe shortage protocols” for certain antibiotics used against strep, allowing pharmacists to dispense alternatives to patients who cannot get a specific drug prescribed by their doctor.

The number of scarlet fever cases are above normal seasonal levels, which were suppressed during the Covid-19 lockdown in the last two years.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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