FRESH advice has been dished out to schools and nurseries to tackle a contagious disease after a spike in cases across East Staffordshire.
Scarlet fever is at a 30-year-high across the UK, with 28 cases reported in the borough - more than anywhere else in Staffordshire.
Now, county leaders and health chiefs have pleaded with parents and teachers to play their part in curbing the outbreak.
To cut the risk of contracting the disease, people should frequently wash their hands, not share cutlery, always dispose of tissues and wash handkerchiefs.
It can also be contracted from someone infected coughing nearby, as it is an airborne disease.
Mark Sutton (pictured), Staffordshire County Council’s public health leader, said: “The new guidelines are being issued to schools and nurseries to help control the spread of infection if an outbreak occurs.
“This includes letters to parents and staff detailing what to look out for, and the steps to take if scarlet fever is suspected, together with a reminder of the importance of good hygiene practice.”
The calls came hot on the heels of news that there had been a ten-fold increase in cases since January when compared to 2011, with 94 cases in Staffordshire – more than any other West Midlands county.
Scarlet Fever mainly affects children, most commonly those aged between two and eight.
Although once a very dangerous infection, it is now much less serious and is normally treated with antibiotics.
Dr Alison Teale, public health consultant with the county council, said an investigation is underway to explain the unexpected rise in cases.
She urged anyone who thinks their child had the disease to see their GP.
Scarlet Fever is caused by the bacteria streptococcus pyogenes and is characterised by a rash, sore throat, high temperature, swollen tongue and flushed cheeks.
It takes around two to five days to develop symptoms after infection