Scarlet fever hit its highest level in England for 50 years, with more than 17,000 cases reported in 2016 - research in the Lancet shows.
The disease has been on the rise since 2014, but experts have so far failed to find a reason for the recent increase.
What is Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that mainly affects children and is distinctive due to its pink-red rash. It is highly contagious and should be treated with antibiotics. Dr Theresa Lamagni, the body’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said: “Whilst scarlet fever is not usually a severe illness it should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of further complications and to minimise the risk of spread to others.”
What are the symptoms?
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A Public Health England spokeswoman added: “It’s not uncommon to see more cases of scarlet fever during winter and spring. “Although we have seen a small increase in cases this year, scarlet fever is usually a mild illness that can be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of further complications and to minimise the risk of its spread to others. “Children or adults diagnosed with scarlet fever are advised to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.”
Where can I find out more? For more information, visit the NHS Choices website here