SCHOOLS all across Sedgemoor are being urged to be extra vigilant with hand hygiene procedures following a high number of cases of scarlet fever.

Burnham Infant School has become the latest school to be affected by the spread of the outbreak, which is believed to be the worst in the UK for 24 years.

The school has had two confirmed cases during the last few weeks and has issued advice to parents in its latest newsletter.

The Weekly News contacted Burnham Infants School regarding the cases but the school declined to comment further.

The number of cases of the infection in the UK have exceeded four times the usual amount, Public Health England (PHE) figures show.

Since the Scarlet Fever season began in September last year, health officials have recorded 8,305 cases, when normally they would expect to see just under 2,000 cases in the same time frame.

Scarlet Fever is a bacterial illness that causes a distinctive pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch. It may start in one area, but soon spreads to many parts of the body, such as the ears, neck and chest. The rash may be itchy.

Other symptoms include a high temperature, a flushed face and a red, swollen tongue.

Dr Theresa Lamagni, PHE’s head of streptococcal infection surveillance, said: “We are still observing exceptionally high numbers of cases and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“We strongly urge people to remain vigilant and to go to their GP if they develop symptoms.”

Scarlet Fever is most common among children aged between two and eight. It was once a very dangerous infection but is now less threatening and can be successfully treated with antibiotics, but it is highly contagious.