Scarlet fever cases reach 20-year high

Scarlet-feverScarlet fever has significantly increased across England, with a total of 3,548 new cases since September 2013.

Public Health England (PHE) has reported significant increases in scarlet fever cases across England, with a total of 3,548 since September 2013, compared to an average of 1,420 cases at the same point over the past 10 years.

Scarlet fever is an infectious disease caused by group A streptococcus bacterium.

Typically there are seasonal rises in scarlet fever between December and April each year, and also a cycle of increases and decreases in incidence that repeats over a period of several years. This most recent increase is likely to be part of that cycle.

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals should be mindful of the current increase when treating patients, PHE has said.

The first symptoms of scarlet fever often include:

  • A sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

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