1. ITV Report

2014 sees huge surge in number of Scarlet Fever cases in the East Midlands

Scarlet Fever cases have risen dramatically in the East Midlands Photo: NHS Choices

School and nurseries across the East Midlands are being sent information and advice after a recent surge in the number of Scarlet Fever cases.

In the first 11 weeks of 2013, 75 cases were notified in the East Midlands. This figure has risen to 350 for the same period this year.

Notifications of Scarlet Fever in weeks 1-11 2014:

  • Derbyshire - 117
  • Derby - 29
  • Nottingham - 44
  • Nottinghamshire - 78
  • Leicester - 12
  • Leicestershire - 43
  • Lincolnshire - 27

Notifications of Scarlet Fever in weeks 1-11 2013:

  • Derbyshire - 29
  • Derby - 3
  • Nottingham - 11
  • Nottinghamshire - 16
  • Leicester - 3
  • Leicestershire - 5
  • Lincolnshire - 8

Scarlet fever is mainly a childhood disease and is most common between the ages of two and eight years.

Schools and nurseries are being warned about the symptoms of Scarlet Fever Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Scarlet Fever, sometimes called Scarletina, is an infection caused by bacteria known as Group A streptococci which affect the throat. The bacteria which cause the infection produce toxins (poisons), which cause a rash, a red and swollen tongue and flushed cheeks.

For the majority of cases of Scarlet Fever, a course of antibiotics will cure the illness and reduce the risk of complications. People with high temperatures should drink plenty of fluids and keep cool. Your doctor should be able to give advice on appropriate additional medication to relieve symptoms.

The bacteria are carried in saliva in the mouth and mucus from a runny nose so Scarlet Fever is spread from person to person either by breathing in airborne droplets from an infected person coughing or sneezing, or by touching the mucus or saliva of an infected person or items they have used, therefore it is essential that people wash their hands regularly and do not share utensils with an infected person.

– Dr Philip Monk, Consultant in Communicable Disease at Public Health England

More on this story