The number of cases of Scarlet Fever in Peterborough has risen by 400 per cent in the past year.
The striking figures show that 98 people were struck by the disease in 2015, compared to 20 in 2014.
The dramatic rise mirrors the national picture which has seen the highest number of diagnoses for Scarlet Fever since 1967.
The bacterial infection, which mainly affects children and causes a distinctive pink-red rash, is now in its peak period for the year which runs until the middle of April.
The outbreak has prompted Public Health England to issue guidance to worried parents.
Dr Theresa Lamagni, the body’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said: “Whilst scarlet fever is not usually a severe illness it should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of further complications and to minimise the risk of spread to others.
“Individuals should be mindful of the symptoms of scarlet fever, which include a sore throat, headache and fever with a sandpapery, fine, pinkish/red rash developing within one to two days of first symptoms.
“If you or your child develops any of these symptoms you should contact your GP. Children or adults diagnosed with scarlet fever are advised to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.”
In 2015 there were 17,586 cases of scarlet fever in England and Wales, and 600 new cases are being reported every week.
For more information, visit the NHS Choices website - http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Scarlet-fever/Pages/Introduction.aspx.