Number of scarlet fever cases at a 24-year high in the UK

868 cases have been recorded for the first 8 weeks of 2014 compared to 591 in the same period last year

Data has revealed that the number of scarlet fever cases in the UK has reached a 24-year high.

Between the start of 2014 and the end of February, 868 cases of scarlet fever have been reported, according to Public Health England, the highest number of outbreaks since 1990.

In 2013, for the same period, only 591 cases had been recorded.

In the East Midlands alone, 134 cases have been notified in the first eight weeks of the year, compared to 56 during the same time the year before. In Lincolnshire nursery staff have been receiving letters guiding them on how to spot the warning signs.

Scarlet fever has been manifesting itself as a milder disease since 1885, and fatalities linked to the disease have become quite rare in developed countries. Between 1820 and 1880, cases of scarlet fever were often highly fatal.

According to the Health Protection Agency in 1959 47,919 cases were notified, however only one death was recorded. The age distribution of notifications shows that scarlet fever affects mostly children between the ages of one and four, followed by children between five and nine years old.

The number of scarlet fever outbreaks is higher during the first weeks of the year as the illness can spread through sneezing and coughing as the bacteria is found in mucus and saliva.

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that is recognised by a widespread pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to the touch. It can be accompanied by high temperature, a swollen tongue and flushed cheeks. A simple course of antibiotics is usually needed to fight the scarlet fever.

According to the NHS, 2,000 to 4,000 cases are diagnosed in England every year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative / Forklift Driver

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Through a combination of excell...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Service Plan Champion

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Service Plan Champi...

Recruitment Genius: Service Plan Champion

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Service Plan Champi...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific