PARENTS have been warned to be on the lookout for signs of a Victorian illness that mainly strikes children.
Cases of scarlet fever are at “unseasonably high” levels in some areas, medics have said.
The illness is a bacterial bug that causes a distinctive red rash and mainly affects children.
NHS Scottish Borders said it is monitoring high numbers of the bug in the community.
Experts in Scotland have urged parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the Victorian illness so that early treatment with antibiotics can be given.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) also issued new guidance to parents on scarlet fever as part of a guide on how to keep under 5s safe this winter.
Cases are relatively low in the rest of the UK and the most recent notifications of infectious diseases (NOIDS) report from the government shows a breakdown of where cases have been detected.
The data shows in the week ending October 30, there were 93 cases of scarlet fever reported in the South East.
In inner London there were 11, with 29 reported in outer London, which includes areas such as Barking and Dagenham.
In the West Midlands, 34 cases were reported, with just four being recorded in the East Midlands.
The North West saw 99 cases, with Yorkshire and the Humber reporting 83.
Medics explained that the bug mainly affects children under the age of 10, usually between two and eight years of age.
However, they cautioned that people of any age are susceptible to it.
Guidance from the UKHSA also states that levels are higher than usual for this time of year.
The last data set on the illness was published in September, when a surge had also been seen in infections.
Experts say there are six mains signs of scarlet fever that all parents need to be aware of:
- High temperature
- Sore throat
- Swollen neck glands
- A rash
- White coating on the tongue
- Red cheeks
If signs of scarlet fever are suspected, it is important to contact your local GP or NHS 111.
Official guidance states: “Initial symptoms usually include a sore throat, headache and a high temperature (38.3C/101F or above), flushed cheeks and a swollen tongue followed by a distinctive pink-red rash a day or two later.
“It usually clears up after about a week, but if you think you or your child may have it, please contact your GP for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
“Due to the contagious nature of scarlet fever, if you or your child has the illness, please stay at home for at least 24 hours after starting treatment with antibiotics.”
Experts explained that as a parent, if your child seems seriously unwell then you should trust your own judgement.
You should call 999 or go to A&E if your child is having difficulty breathing.
This could also present as them making grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs.
If there are pauses when they breathe, if their skin, tongue or lips are blue or if they are floppy and will not wake up or stay awake then you need to seek immediate medical attention.
The warnings from health bodies in the UK come as cases of cholera have also increased across the globe.
Just last month it was also revealed there had been a small outbreak of deadly diphtheria confirmed in the UK.
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