According to Public Health England, 37 cases of scarlet fever were reported in the South West of England last week.
The Exeter Express and Echo reports:
"Parents are urged to be on the lookout for symptoms after new cases of scarlet fever were recorded. The warning is to try to stem the rise in cases of the illness - to catch it ahead of a peak in infections, which happen in March and April, as it is extremely contagious."
Scarlet fever is a highly contagious bacterial disease which mainly affects children between the ages of two and eight. There is no vaccination against it but it's not the serious health threat it once was. That said, prompt treatment is important.
Symptoms include a rash, a sore throat, flushed cheeks and swollen tongue.
Public Health England offers this guidance to parents and carers on how to protect against scarlet fever:
- Wash hands regularly
- Don't share eating utensils with an infected person
- Wash or dispose of tissues / hankies used by an infected person
- Be aware that you can catch scarlet fever by inhaling airborne droplets if someone with the illness coughs or sneezes in the air near you.
See your GP immediately if you're concerned that your child is showing symptoms of scarlet fever. Ensure any course of antibiotics is finished, and keep your child at home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics in order to minimise the risk of spreading infection.