Public Health England has urged parents to be vigilant in spotting signs of scarlet fever and encouraged them to contact their GP if they have concerns.
The warning comes as latest figures show that the number of cases over the last six months has more than doubled, when compared to the average for the past five years.
The latest Health Protection Report has confirmed that 20,372 cases of scarlet fever have been reported since September, a significant increase when compared with the average of 9,461 cases for the same period over the last 5 years.
In the last week alone 1,180 cases of scarlet fever, which is more common in children under 10, have been reported.
PHE’s deputy director of national infection service Dr Nick Phin said: ‘We are urging parents to look out for the symptoms of scarlet fever such as a sore throat, fever and rash after seeing a significant upsurge in cases this year.
‘We encourage parents to contact their GP or NHS 111 if they spot symptoms of scarlet fever or have concerns.’
PHE has also asked GPs and other health practitioners to be ‘mindful when assessing patients’ and ‘promptly notify’ local health protection teams of cases and outbreaks.
Earlier this year, Pulse reported a sharp increase in scarlet fever at the end of last year which PHE said they were ‘monitoring closely’.
They also issued a key message to GPs highlighting an increase in consultations for scarlet fever.