Scarlet fever: the 12 areas of England and Wales worst affected as Strep A outbreak continues to grow

With scarlet fever infections continuing to climb amid high levels of the Strep A bug, here are the areas of England and Wales with the most cases last week

The scarlet fever outbreak continues to grow across England and Wales, official figures show.

There were 1,702 cases of the highly contagious infection reported to health authorities last week, a 26% rise from the week before.

Scarlet fever is caused by the Strep A bacteria, which in rare circumstances can lead to a potentially deadly illness called invasive Group A Strep (iGAS).

At least 15 children and teenagers across the UK have died from iGAS in recent weeks.

Nearly half of the cases of scarlet fever reported last week were in Wales, with 848 reports, figures from the UK Health Security Agency show.

The North East of England had the second highest number, with 286 cases.

Other regions were barely affected, with four cases each reported in South West England and the West Midlands.

Symptoms of scarlet fever include a sandpapery skin rash and a white coating on the tongue.

Thanks to antibiotics, most cases these days are mild and easily treated, but parents are being urged to seek medical help if their child is deteriorating after a bout of scarlet fever, a sore throat, or a respiratory infection.

Here are the 12 local authority areas of England and Wales which reported the highest number of scarlet fever cases in the week ending 11 December.

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