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Scarlet fever: 60% increase in cases in the East Midlands

Scarlet fever is highly contagious Credit: ITV News Central

There has been a 60% increase in the number of scarlet fever cases in the East Midlands in the first 10 weeks of this year compared to the same period last year.

The illness is highly contagious and symptoms include a sore throat, fever, and a fine, sandpapery rash.

The symptoms of scarlet fever:

  • The first symptoms often include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.
  • After 12 to 48 hours a fine red rash develops which feels like sandpaper to touch.
  • Fever of over 38.3 degrees Celsius or higher is common.
  • White coating of the tongue, which peels to leave the tongue looking red and swollen.
  • Swollen glands in the neck.
  • Feeling tired and generally unwell.
  • Flushed red face but pale around the mouth.
  • Peeling skin on the fingertips, toes and groin area as the rash fades.

Scarlet fever cases nearly double in the East Midlands

Cases of scarlet fever have nearly doubled so far this year Credit: ITV News Central

The number of scarlet fever cases in the East Midlands have nearly doubled so far this year compared with last.

204 cases were reported in January and February this year, compared to 103 in the same period last year.

SCARLET FEVER SYMPTOMS:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Red blotches
  • Sandpapery rash

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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.

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

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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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