Scarlet fever warning as cases rise

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Parents have been warned to check their children for symptoms of scarlet fever following a growing number of cases in recent weeks.

Official figures for 2017 have revealed that there has been a recent increase in reports of the illness, with a total of 239 reports coming from Yorkshire and the Humber.

While these figures are slightly below last year's, 2143 and 254 respectively, Public Health England (PHE) warned cases usually increase at this time of the year.

A recent PHE report found that rates of scarlet fever cases so far this season in Yorkshire & Humber were at 7.5 per 100,000 population, only behind the East Midlands (8.6) and the North West (7.7).

PHE said that they had noticed a "substantial increase" in cases since 2013/14 and warned parents to look out for symptoms of the highly contagious illness.

A PHE Yorkshire and the Humber spokesperson said:

"It’s not uncommon to see more cases of scarlet fever during winter and spring. Symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat, headache and fever with a characteristic sandpapery, fine, pinkish or red rash. Parents should pay particular attention and if you or your child develops any of these symptoms you should contact your GP for assessment.

"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.” Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that mainly affects children and can be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of further complications. For more information about scarlet fever see www.nhs.uk.