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Scarlet fever cases at a 50-year high in England

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- In England, scarlet fever hit its highest level in the past half-century.

More than 19,000 cases were reported in 2016, the highest level since 1967, according to The Lancet.

The disease rate had been rising since 2014, but experts are not sure what the reason is. Figures for 2017 show a slight decrease, but experts are saying it may be too soon to tell.  

The highly contagious, bacterial disease can be treated with antibiotics. It most commonly affects children under age 10. Symptoms include a sore throat, headache and fever accompanied by a rosy rash that feels like sandpaper.

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