HEALTH bosses have issued a renewed warning to York parents, schools and nurseries, after a surge in the number of cases of scarlet fever.

Parents and those working with children are urged to be vigilant to the signs and symptoms of the disease, which mainly affects children, particularly those aged two to eight.

The warning follows an earlier appeal by York health bosses two weeks ago.

Scarlet fever was once very dangerous but has become less serious, but there is currently no vaccine for it.

In Yorkshire and the Humber, 550 notifications of possible scarlet fever have been reported to PHE so far in 2014, compared to around 300 in the same period in 2013.

Scarlet fever is a seasonal disease and health bosses say the number of cases should decline in the coming weeks. 

Dr Wendy Phillips, Deputy Director of Health Protection at Public Health England’s (PHE) Yorkshire and the Humber Centre, said: “Anyone with symptoms of scarlet fever, which include a sore throat, headache and fever accompanied by a characteristic rash, should consult their GP.  Scarlet fever should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the 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.

“Good hand hygiene is crucial in preventing the spread of the infection and children and adults should be encouraged to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough and sneeze, and to wash their hands after using or disposing of tissues.

“While most cases of scarlet fever are mild and will resolve within a week, healthcare professionals should continue to be vigilant due to uncommon but possible complications of the illness."