Childhood infections

Key messages for primary care practitioners

Background information

Other useful resources

Background information

  • 'Childhood infections' refers to those infections that are particularly associated with childhood, many of which are vaccine preventable. The range of childhood infections that occur in UK born children may also occur in non-UK born children.
  • Some diseases may be more common in children born abroad, especially vaccine preventable diseases if they have not been fully immunised. Immunisation coverage and incidence of childhood diseases is highly variable throughout the world; see WHO [external link] for country specific information.
  • Children born abroad should be brought up to date with the UK immunisation schedule.
  • Many of the descriptions and images used to describe and demonstrate typical rashes associated with childhood infections are based on their appearance in white skin. Be aware that they may look different in pigmented skin.
  • You can help prevent the spread of infection by giving advice in accordance with infection control guidelines for schools and childcare facilities.
  • Many childhood infections are statutorily notifiable.

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Other useful resources

Information about individual childhood diseases from the HPA:

  1. Covered by UK immunisation schedule
    Diphtheria
    Measles
    Meningococcal disease
    Mumps
    Haemophilus influenza type B
    Pneumococcal disease
    Polio (HPA website) Polio (migrant health guide)
    Rubella
    Whooping cough 
  2. Other
    Chickenpox
    Scarlet fever
    Slapped cheek syndrome
    Fungal infections
    Head lice
    Impetigo
    Respiratory syncytial virus
    Rotavirus
    Streptococcal infections 

HPA guidance for primary care on diagnosis of infectious disease 

Guidance on infection control in schools and other childcare settings

Notifiable diseases

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