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Why You Should Care That Scarlet Fever is Making a Comeback

The infection can lead to pneumonia, flesh-eating bacteria and death.

Science By

Cases of scarlet fever are on the rise in England and Wales, according to British scientists in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. The disease, caused by an infection of the bacteria known as “group A Strep,” is better known from its place in the history books, but cases have tripled in England and Wales since 2013, and the consequences can be deadly.

“Scarlet fever epidemics have yet to abate in the U.K. and northeast Asia. Thus, heightened global surveillance for the dissemination of scarlet fever is warranted,” Mark Walker and Stephan Brouwer, of the University of Queensland in Australia, write.

Highly contagious, scarlet fever is named for the red rash patients see when they’re infected. They also usually have a high fever and potentially, strep throat. Patients may also experience pneumonia and the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis.

That being said, Stat News notes, American citizens don’t yet need to worry about the disease.

“If they were seeing what we’re seeing, they would know about it. It is unusual,” Theresa Lamagni, the first author of the paper, said.

Read full story at Stat News