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Old Diseases Making A Comeback

BETHEL PARK (KDKA) – Tuesday, officials say a parent reported that their child – a student at Ben Franklin Elementary School – had a scarlet fever.

The Allegheny County Health Department is aware of the report, but says it's not a confirmed case, and something parents should not be concerned about.

"Scarlet fever is not a reportable disease, so we don't typically investigate this," said Dr. Kristen Mertz with the Allegheny County Health Department. "If we're to get calls about multiple cases, we would look into it."

Scarlet fever is caused by the same bacteria that cause strep.

You have a high fever and a sore throat. Some strains cause a rash.

It typically affects people under the age of 18.

But Dr. Mertz says scarlet fever is rare nowadays.

And you can go back to school or work within 24 hours of using antibiotics.

"Now that we have antibiotics, antibiotics reduce transmission, the duration of illness," said Mertz. "It's less common."

Scarlet fever is just one of several illnesses back in the news. Just like measles and mumps.
Why are these diseases making a comeback?

"It's been reintroduced for people from abroad and then we'll get clusters around these imported cases," said Mertz.

Mertz says some parents are also reluctant to get their kids vaccinated.

"Before the vaccines were introduced in the 1960s, there were thousands and thousands of cases in the US, but since the vaccines have been introduced, we have the incidents of disease have gone way down."

But if just one person gets the virus, and is in close contact with someone else, it can easily spread.

Since this is an isolated incident, the health department says parents don't need to be worried about their child getting sick.

However, if your child has strep or scarlet fever symptoms, officials say to contact your doctor.

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