THERE has been a huge rise in cases of scarlet fever in Warwickshire so far this year.
The Observer can reveal there have been 50 cases confirmed by Public Health England (PHE) since January compared to just 14 in the first three months of last year and 38 in the whole of 2013.
The latest case of the childhood disease has been confirmed by Ettington Primary School this week.
It comes amid a rise in cases of the bacterial illness around the county with over 3,500 cases in England since September – more than double the normal average for the season.
The last season to have this level of cases was 1989 to 1990 when 4,042 notifications were received.
It was once a very dangerous infection, but has now become much less serious.
Symptoms include a high temperature and a red rash, sore throat, headache, swollen neck glands, peeling skin on fingertips and toes and a white coating on the tongue.
There is currently no vaccine for scarlet fever, but it can be treated with antibiotics.
A post on Ettington school’s website on Monday read: “We have today been notified that a child in Key Stage 1 has a confirmed case of Scarlet Fever.
“Scarlet Fever is a bacterial illness features a red rash on the body and is usually accompanied by a sore throat and a high fever.
“You will need antibiotic treatment and the exclusion period from school is five days from the start of the treatment.”
Warwickshire’s Public Health department has yet to comment.
Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said this season’s increase was part of a cycle of increases and decreases over a period several years.
She said cases were more common in children although adults can also develop scarlet fever, and symptoms usually clear up after a week.