An Ammanford mum has hit out after she claims she was forced to send her four-year-old to school suffering from scarlet fever fearing she would otherwise face legal action.

The mum, who asked not to be named, said she felt she had to send her daughter to school despite the youngster showing symptoms of the disease as Wales suffers its worst outbreak since records began.

Even after the youngster was diagnosed as suffering from the disease by doctors at Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli, mum was still informed by the school that she would need medical proof for her daughter to be excused.

“It is a crazy situation,” said the 44-year-old.

“My daughter does have health problems and has missed days off school because of diagnosed conditions.

“The school wrote to me recently and threatened legal action if she missed another day.

“She was bad on the Thursday and Friday but I had to send her to school because of the legal threat.

“She was diagnosed over the weekend, but when I phoned the school on Monday to say she would not be in I was told I had to get a doctor’s letter or I’d be taken to court.

“What makes it all the more crazy is that the school has already recorded a number of cases of scarlet fever so they are aware there is a problem.

“I am really angry by the way the school has handled it.”

Meanwhile, Public Health Wales (PHW) said it had been notified of 379 cases of scarlet fever amongst youngsters between January 1 and March 31. There were 186 cases during the whole of 2012.

The number is higher than any year since 1994 when Welsh records began.

A spokesman for PHW said the rise may have been caused by the mild winter, but warned parents to remain vigilant with the disease mainly affecting young children.

"Scarlet fever is highly contagious,” said the spokesman.

“Although most cases of scarlet fever are mild and will clear up in a week or so, a course of antibiotics can speed your recovery and will lessen the chances of spreading the infection to other people.”

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • A sore throat, headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting.
  • A rough red rash – usually starting on the chest and stomach but quickly spreading to the rest of the body.
  • A white coating on the tongue, which peels off after a few days.
  • Swollen glands in the neck.
  • A flushed or “sun-burnt” face, but pale around the mouth.
  • Peeling skin on the fingertips, toes and groin.