More than 30 cases of scarlet fever have been reported in Suffolk in one week. 

Figures released by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have revealed the locations in the county where people have come down with the contagious infection.

Confirmed cases of scarlet fever and Strep A - which are caused by the same bacteria - have surpassed pre-pandemic levels in recent weeks.

This has led to reports that rising numbers are putting pressure on GP surgeries and walk-in centres.

Schools have also been contacting parents to warn them about cases among classes.

A total of 36 cases of scarlet fever were recorded in Suffolk in the week ending December 4.

Waveney had the highest number of cases, with 15 reported.

This was followed by Suffolk Coastal with 10 cases.

Ipswich had seven cases confirmed, St Edmundsbury had three cases and Babergh had one.

In the east of England, there have been 436 cases of scarlet fever reported in recent weeks - at a rate of 6.5 cases per 100,000 people.

In the same time period, Strep A was reported at a rate of 0.6 cases per 100,000 people - a total of 39 cases.

Last week, Suffolk Public Health said cases in the county have over the last 12 months been extremely low

But the recent outbreak has prompted health bosses to issue warnings over how to spot the condition - and what to do if you suspect your child has it.

What is scarlet fever?

Scarlet fever is an infection which is caused by a bacteria called group A streptococci.

It is usually a very mild illness, however, it is highly infectious.

It is most commonly found in young children, particularly those aged between one and four.

What is Strep A?

Strep A - otherwise known as invasive Group A streptococci or iGAS - is a very rare condition caused by the same bacteria which leads to scarlet fever.

Strep A occurs when the bacteria finds its way into a person's bloodstream and in extremely rare occasions can be fatal in children.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • A fine, pinkish or red rash with a rough feel

Parents are encouraged to make sure their children are washing their hands properly with soap and warm water, catching coughs and sneezes with tissues and keeping away from others while feeling unwell.