Public Health England have received 111 reports of suspected scarlet fever in Essex, to 4th March 2018, compared to 74 for the same period in 2017 – an increase of 50%.
The significant increase is the highest number since before 2014, when only 9 cases were reported. 23 of those reported cases were from the Colchester area.
Nick Phin, Deputy Director at Public Health England said: “It’s not uncommon to see a rise in cases of scarlet fever at this time of year.
“Scarlet fever is not usually a serious illness and can be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of complications and spread to others.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and remind parents to be aware of the symptoms of scarlet fever and to contact their GP for assessment if they think their child might have it.”
What are the symptoms of scarlet fever?
Symptoms include a sore throat, headache and fever with a fine, pinkish/red rash developing within one to two days of first noticing symptoms.
Parents are being warned to contact their GP if their children develop any of these symptoms. Once diagnosed, sufferers should be isolated for at least 24 hours after the start of their course of antibiotics.
Further advise can be found on the NHS website.