Understanding scarlet fever
“We aim to build our understanding of how scarlet fever infects children and spreads so we can identify the best ways to slow down transmission in future outbreaks,” says Professor Sriskandan. “We hope that this will, in turn, save children’s lives from more dangerous conditions caused by the same bacteria.”
The team will first investigate if some strains of bacteria are more infectious than others and then find out which antibiotics are most effective at slowing them down.
Helping to reduce transmission
The researchers will also test whether current hygiene interventions and recommendations for disease control – such as hand washing, classroom cleaning, antibiotic treatment and staying away from school or nursery – are enough to reduce the risk of the spread of scarlet fever during an outbreak.
“Our results will help inform public health strategy, as surveillance could be used to monitor which strains are circulating in a season and highlight what is needed to prevent an outbreak,” says Professor Sriskandan. “Should our study suggest that the current guidelines need adjusting, our team is well-placed to ensure this happens as quickly as possible.”