Strep A, Invasive GAS and Scarlet Fever

We are experiencing a high number of calls relating to the recent media reports of Strep A and Scarlet Fever amongst children in the UK. We appreciate this is a worrying time for parents and we are here to offer help and advice.

Group A Strep Group A Streptococcus (also known as GAS, Strep A and Group A Strep) is a common bacterium found in the throat or on the skin. Most people have the bacterium and remain well and symptom free.

Sometimes it causes mild illness like sore throats and skin infections. Rarely, the bacteria causes invasive Strep A disease.

Strep A is spread through mucus and saliva, we strongly advise you encourage your children to practice good hand hygiene and keep tissues to hand to catch all coughs and sneezes.

Invasive GAS Invasive GAS happens when the bacterium gets past the body’s natural defences. Rarely, this can cause severe infection. Early signs and symptoms of invasive GAS include:

  • High fever
  • Severe muscle aches
  • Redness at the site of a wound
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting

Scarlet Fever

Although contagious, Scarlet Fever is rare, and easily treated with antibiotics. Please see the following video with information and advice about scarlet fever:

Typical symptoms of Scarlet Fever caused by Strep A:

  • High Temperature
  • Sore throat
  • Rash (which can be red, and often feels rough like sandpaper – the redness may not be apparent in darker skin tones)
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Pinprick rash on face
  • Red spots on throat
  • Strawberry tongue (red and swollen)

More information about Scarlet a fever can be found at NHS: Scarlet Fever

There are lots of viral infections causing coughs, colds and sore throats – the vast majority of children with these symptoms will be well enough to be managed at home with rest, good fluid intake and paracetamol and/or ibuprofen given as needed according to the instructions on the bottle.

You can read more advice at

Most of all, we are here to help. If you are concerned your child may be displaying any of the above symptoms please contact us or NHS 111. Do however note demand is high and waiting times may be longer than usual.