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  1. ITV Report

Scarlet Fever: Thirteen cases reported in the South West

A pinkish, sandpapery rash develops 12 to 48 hours after the first symptoms appear. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As winter approaches the region is likely to see an increase in the number of people with the seasonal illness Scarlet Fever.

The latest data from Public Health England, for the week ending 30 October, shows there are 13 cases in the region.

Scarlet fever is much less common than it used to be, but in recent years there have been a number of significant outbreaks.

Earlier this year cases reached the highest level in 49 years.

The symptoms usually develop two to five days after infection - although the patient will be contagious before symptoms appear. Credit: NHS Choices

Anyone can get it, although it is most common in children between the ages of two and eight years old.

  • What is scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that mainly affects children. It is characterised by a distinctive pink-red rash.

It's cased by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, or group A streptococcus, which live on the skin and in the throat.

It can be spread through close contact with people carrying the organism - or though indirect contact with objects and surfaces that have been contaminated.

It's a seasonal disease - and although it was once a very dangerous infection, most cases now aren't very serious.