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GPs see sharp increase in scarlet fever cases



GPs have seen a big increase in cases of scarlet fever this season, with the number of reported cases more than doubled compared with previous years, according to Public Health England.

Latest figures from the public health body show there have been 3,548 new scarlet fever notifications across England since the season began in September 2013, compared with an average of 1,420 cases reported for the same period in the previous ten years.

Scarlet fever mainly affects children between the ages of two and eight years and should be treated with antibiotics to prevent complications, Public Health England (PHE) said in a statement.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, head of streptococcal infection surveillance at PHE, said: ‘PHE recommends that people with symptoms of scarlet fever see their GP. Once children or adults are diagnosed with scarlet fever we strongly advise them to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection.’