Yes, Scarlet Fever is on the rise in the UK and researchers currently have no explanation for the increase in incidence. The only good news is that the Victorian infection has not resulted in the fatal fevers that previously meant a certain finality to the disease in Victorian times. The disease was the leading cause of death in children in the late 19th Century with the greatest threat in North America experienced between 1840 and 1910. The drop in incidence coincided with the introduction of antibiotics in the early 20th Century when Sulfonamides and Penicillins saw a drop in many previously fatal infections including Scarlet Fever.
The disease seen recently is caused by a Streptococcus which is not any different than the causative bacteria in those previous years and so far, none of the bacteria cultured have shown any strains to be more dominant. The Public Health England (PHE) will continue to monitor the strains for antibiotic resistance.
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