PARENTS are urged to be aware of a rise in scarlet fever after more than 130 cases reported in the region.

There have been 136 cases of the disease reported in Gloucestershire, Avon and Wiltshire in the last year – the second highest increase in England.

According to a recent report by Public Health England there have been 868 notifications in the past four weeks compared to 591 for the equivalent period last year.

Scarlet fever is mainly a childhood disease appearing in children under the age of 10, however cases in adults can occur although this is much rarer.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said: “We are continuing to see increases in scarlet fever notifications across England and are working closely with healthcare professionals to try and understand the reasons behind these increases and do our best to reduce the impact of this infection.

“PHE urges people with symptoms of scarlet fever, which include a sore throat, headache and fever accompanied by a characteristic rash, to consult their GP. Scarlet fever should be treated with antibiotics to reduce risk of complications.

“Once children or adults are diagnosed with scarlet fever we strongly advise them to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection.”

Symptoms include:

• Sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting

• A characteristic fine red rash after 12-48 hours, on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other areas. It feels like sandpaper to touch

• Fever over 38.3C or higher is common

• White coating on the tongue, which peels a few days later leaving the tongue looking red and swollen

• Swollen glands in the neck

• Feeling tired and unwell

• Flushed red face but pale around the mouth

• Peeling skin on fingertips, toes and groin, as the rash fades.

For more information visit and search for scarlet fever