In general, it strikes after a sore throat or skin infections such as impetigo. Scarlet fever can cause a temperature of above 38.3 degrees, as well as a sore throat and a headache.
Flushed cheeks and a swollen tongue are also signs. Scarlet fever is an airborne illness, which can be caught by inhaling bacteria spread by coughs and sneezes.
The condition has also been reported in a school near Brighton, East Sussex, prompting officials to carry out a deep clean of the institution, The Argus local newspaper reported.
In recent years there has been a “significant” rise in outbreaks, but the cause is unknown according to the NHS website. A bacterial illness, scarlet fever is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus, which live on the skin and in the throat, according to the NHS.
The peak season for cases is usually in March and April and parents are encouraged to learn the symptoms now.
In its latest report, Public Health England said rates of notified cases so far this season were highest in the East Midlands (8.6 per 100,000 people), followed by the North West (7.7), Yorkshire & Humber (7.5) and the North East (6.9).
Doctors are warning parents to check their children for rashes and swollen tongues following an increase in outbreaks of scarlet fever.
The bacterial illness, which mainly affects children under 10, is easily treated by antibiotics but is extremely contagious, even after treatment has begun.
The tongue may also have a “strawberry”-like appearance.DOCTORS say Britain looks to be heading for another large outbreak of scarlet fever.Cases hit a 50-year high in 2015/16, and Public Health England says figures are on course for a similar rate this year.Potential complications include ear infection, throat abscess and pneumonia.PHE said the parents of any child who does not show signs of improvement within a few days of starting treatment should seek urgent medical advice.Children with scarlet fever should stay home from school or daycare for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics. The classic symptom of scarlet fever is a red rash that feels like sandpaper which appears 1-2 days after the illness begins and generally lasts for 3-5 days.