08:01AM, Sunday 27 April 2014
A 'substantial increase' in scarlet fever cases has been reported by Public Health England (PHE).
A total of 1,049 new cases were reported between March 31 and April 6 this year, which brings the number reported from September to 7,198.
Of these, 404 cases were in the Thames Valley.
New guidelines have been issued by the body to deal with the increase.
Dr Vanessa Saliba, PHE consultant epidemiologist, said they are based on rapid review of the evidence and expert advice.
The guidelines also include resources such as template letters for parents or guardians, staff and GPs highlighting the signs and symptoms of scarlet fever and what infected patients should do.
PHE is expecting a decline in cases of the seasonal disease over the coming weeks.
There is currently no vaccine against scarlet fever and symptoms include a sore throat, headache and fever accompanied by a characteristic rash.
It usually affects children between the ages of two to eight years old.
Scarlet Fever is highly contagious and suspected cases must be seen by a GP as soon as possible.
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