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3 Victorian diseases on the rise in the UK – symptoms for you to spot

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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reported 52,183 notifications of scarlet fever from September 12, 2022 to March 26, 2023.

To compare, the whole year from September 2017 to 2018, there were a reported 30,768 cases of scarlet fever.

What is scarlet fever?

The NHS says the contagious infection “can be a serious illness”.

Initial symptoms can resemble that of the flu, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands.

Unlike the flu, however, a rash appears up to 48 hours later, which can look like small, raised bumps on the chest and stomach that spreads.

When touching the rash, which may be pink or red in colouring, the skin may feel rough.

“A white coating also appears on the tongue. This peels, leaving the tongue red, swollen and covered in little bumps,” the NHS adds.

Scarlet fever needs to be treated with antibiotics prescribed by the doctor; the infection should clear within a week of treatment.

If you do not take antibiotics, you can spread the infection for up to three weeks after your symptoms start.

The UKHSA also provided data on the number of cases of mumps and measles in the UK.

Updated in early 2023, the report said there were 1,628 suspected cases of mumps between October to December 2022.

Mumps

The contagious viral infection leads to painful swellings on the side of the face, under the ears, the NHS says.

This can create a “hamster face” appearance, as well as other signs of infection, such as:

Headaches
Joint pain
High temperature.

While there is no cure for the infection, it should pass within two weeks.

Measles

The same UKHSA report added that there were 397 suspected cases of measles in the same time period.

The World Health Organization noted: “A resurgence of measles is now an imminent threat.”

Symptoms of measles can include:

A high temperature
A runny or blocked nose
Sneezing
A cough
Red, sore, watery eyes
Spots in the mouth
Rash.

Anybody who suspects they could be suffering from one of these infections is best advised to seek the professional opinion of their doctor.

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