Chickenpox and scarlet fever in children

We are currently seeing some resurgence in cases of chickenpox and scarlet fever, both of which are considered to be common, mild and of low public health risk.

In most situations, schools and childcare settings do not need to contact the UKHSA South West Health Protection Team (HPT) about cases of chickenpox in their setting. Routinely, outbreaks (two or more cases) of scarlet fever should be reported to the HPT so that the appropriate support can be provided, including advising parents to take children to the GP for antibiotic treatment where required (see Annex in letter for further information)

However, co-infection of both chickenpox and scarlet fever carries an increased risk of complications due to invasive infection and requires more proactive management to prevent or mitigate the risk of severe disease.

Please ensure that you contact the UKHSA South West Health Protection Team promptly if:

  • There is a chickenpox outbreak at the same time as case(s) of scarlet fever
  • There is evidence of severe disease – for example, a child is admitted to hospital

Further information and details for both infections are provided in the letter from UKHSA along with links to guidance and resources which are available to access online.