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Hundreds fall ill as scarlet fever cases soar in Midlands

More than 1,260 cases of scarlet fever have now been reported in the East Midlands - eight times the number of cases seen in the same period last year.

Between January and April 2013, a comparatively low 150 cases were treated.

A distinctive pink-red rash is one of the symptoms of scarlet fever. Credit: ITV News Central

Scarlet fever is considered to be rare in the UK nowadays, with usually only around 2,000 and 4,000 cases reported each year across the country.

However, since the start of the year, there has been a surge in the number of cases seen in the East Midlands.

The rash feels like sandpaper to touch and can be itchy. Credit: ITV News Central

Scarlet fever is an extremely contagious bacterial infection, which can be transmitted via airborne droplets or by skin-to-skin contact.

Most cases nowadays are mild and easily treatable with antibiotics.

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East Midlands has highest number of scarlet fever cases

Advice is available for those at risk Credit: NHS Choices

The East Midlands has the highest number of cases of scarlet fever in the country, according to the latest figures from Public Health England.

They say there have been more than 1,200 cases since September. In the West Midlands, 530 cases have been diagnosed, with Staffordshire seeing the most.

More than 7,000 new cases have been recorded across the country in total.

Advice given to schools in Staffordshire after scarlet fever rise

Staffordshire County Council has issued advise to school and nurseries in the county after it has seen a rise in the number of people reporting scarlet fever.

They say to reduce the risk of contracting scarlet fever, you should:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Not share cutlery
  • Dispose of tissues or wash handkerchiefs
  • Be aware it is an airborne illness, so can be picked up by infected person coughing near you

Staffordshire has highest number of scarlet fever cases in West Midlands

Staffordshire has had the most scarlet fever cases in the West Midlands Credit: NHS Choices

Staffordshire County Council is warning schools and nurseries to be aware of the rise of scarlet fever cases in the county.

It comes after a huge rise in the amount of cases reported in the East Midlands in 2014.

Staffordshire has the highest number of reported cases in the West Midlands , with 94 between September 2013 and April this year.

Scarlet fever is mainly a childhood disease, most common between the ages of two and eight. There is no vaccine for scarlet fever, but it can normally be treated with antibiotics.

Staffordshire County Council are issuing advice to schools and nurseries in the county.

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GP: Scarlet fever 'still uncommon' despite recent rise

A doctor has spoken out to assure parents that scarlet fever is still relatively rare, despite a sudden surge in the number of cases being reported in the East Midlands.

There are normally between 2,000 and 4,000 cases nationally each year - but since the start of January, 134 cases have already been reported to Public Health England in the region.

That is compared to just 56 in the same period last year.

In a chat with ITV News Central presenter Sameena Ali-Khan, Nottingham GP Dr Ian Campbell said while the disease was potentially fatal in previous years, with penicillin available now a complete cure in 10 days was now expected.

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