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Scarlet Fever Levels Show A Decline Across England

PHE publishes latest figures for scarlet fever notifications

Published on 16 May 2014

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by Public Health England


London, England

Public Health England (PHE) has reported a decline in levels of scarlet fever across the country with 415 new cases reported last week (5 to 11 May 2014). While the weekly number of cases has reduced by half compared to mid-April, levels remain substantially elevated across the country. The total number of cases notified so far for 2014 is 8,322. This is the highest number of cases reported in a calendar year since 1980 when 11,118 notifications were made.

Scarlet fever is a seasonal disease and this is the time of year when we would expect to see a decline in the number of cases. While data from recent weeks does suggest that the decline has started, the fluctuation indicates a continued need to remain vigilant.

PHE are working closely with healthcare professionals to assess the impact of this season’s high levels of scarlet fever. Isolates have been submitted from laboratories across the country and analyses are underway to identify possible reasons for the widespread upsurge.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said:

"It is still too early to be confident that the drop in the number of cases will be maintained as we are seeing fluctuating numbers each week and incidence remains high compared to recent years. We will continue to monitor the situation closely to see if there is a sustained fall over the coming months.

"We strongly urge people to remain vigilant and to go to their GP if they develop symptoms which suggest scarlet fever such as a sore throat, fever and rash."

While scarlet fever is usually a mild illness it should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of further complications. It is mainly a childhood disease, most common between the ages of 2 and 8 years, although adults can also develop scarlet fever.

Latest information on scarlet fever will continue being reported in the health protection report with statements issued when new information emerges.

For more information about this press release visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/scarlet-fever-levels-show-a-decline-across-england



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Posted 2014-05-16 15:48:00