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High levels of scarlet fever continue

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Scarlet fever levels remain high across England, with 405 new cases between 21-27 April, reports Public Health England.

Although data from recent weeks suggests a decline in incidence, a total of 8,305 new cases have been reported since the season began in September 2013. The region with the highest incidence is the East Midlands, with 1362 cases, while London had 762 cases reported since the start of the season.

Scarlet fever is a seasonal disease and a decline in new cases would be expected at this time of year. The ‘unusual rise’ in incidence in 2014 has led PHE to declare that the seasonal pattern ‘may not be observed.’

Investigations across the country are being undertaken to assess whether a new strain may have emerged.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infections surveillance, claimed they will be monitoring the situation over the coming weeks, and strongly urged people ‘to remain vigilant and to go to their GP if they develop symptoms which suggest scarlet fever such as a sore throat, fever, headache and rash’.

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