Scarlet fever increase reported in North East

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A rise in the number of cases of scarlet fever has been reported by doctors in the north-east of England.

So far in 2013, there have been 225 cases, compared with 296 during the whole of the previous year.

Scarlet fever is a group A streptococcal disease, mostly affecting children, although adults can also suffer.

Symptoms include a sore throat and a red rash, and the condition is treated by antibiotics.

It can be spread by coughs and sneezes, so standard procedures such as using a tissue and washing your hands help cut down the risk of infection.

A spokesperson for the North East Public Health England (PHE) Centre said: "We typically see seasonal rises in scarlet fever between December and April each year, and also a cycle of increases and decreases that repeats over a period of several years.

"However, an increase in cases of scarlet fever is currently being seen nationally, and this is mirrored in the North East."

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