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St. Albert elementary school on alert after Scarlet fever case

A case of scarlet fever, caused by Group A streptococcus, was detected at a school northwest of Edmonton.

An elementary school in St. Albert is asking parents to check their kids for sore throats this week following a confirmed case of scarlet fever at the school.

The school's principal sent a letter to school families Nov. 7 saying that there had been a confirmed case of scarlet fever in one of the school’s classrooms.

Also known as scarlatina, scarlet fever is a disease caused by Group A streptococcus, which is the same bacteria responsible for strep throat, reports the Public Health Agency of Canada. Spread by touching droplets expelled by coughs and sneezes, the disease typically causes a fever, a very red and sore throat, and a red, sandpaper-textured rash. It also creates a white coat on the tongue, which makes the bumps on the tongue stand out and causes the tongue to look like a strawberry.

Parents with students at the affected school are being asked to keep their kids at home and have them examined by a doctor should they feel unwell or have a sore throat. Anyone with scarlet fever and anyone around such a person should avoid sharing items and wash their hands frequently. The classroom where the case of scarlet fever was found will be disinfected, the principal said. 

Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics, the Public Health Agency of Canada reports. Patients usually cease to be infectious after 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, but should take all the antibiotics they are prescribed to ensure the disease is cured. Untreated, scarlet fever can, in rare cases, lead to heart disease and kidney damage.


Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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