News story: Public Health England urges vigilance about spotting signs of scarlet fever Scarlet fever is a very contagious, seasonal bacterial illness that mainly affects children and is not uncommon for this time of year.
The latest Health Protection Report showed 6,225 cases of scarlet fever had been reported since mid-September 2017, compared to 3,764 for the same period last season. There were 719 cases reported for the most recent week (22 to 28 January 2018).
This increasing trend is in line with usual patterns although cases are currently higher than those reported at this point in the last 4 seasons. It is not possible at this point to determine what the final numbers will be for this season. Scarlet fever is a clinical diagnosis and not usually confirmed by laboratory testing so the activity we may be seeing may be due to increased awareness and reporting of scarlet fever, although the exact cause is still being investigated. Gov.uk