Scarlet fever may seem like a disease of bygone times—it's what took Beth away from the Little Women and sealed the fate of the Velveteen Rabbit—but for many Britons it has become all too current. England and Wales have seen a spike in cases, with 3,000 last year, and it may be getting more virulent, the Independent reports.
Caused by the same bacterium as strep throat, scarlet fever produces a characteristic rash along with sore throat, fever, and swollen glands. Although antibiotics can combat most strains, it can sometimes lead to deadly complications like meningitis, pneumonia, or flesh-eating bacteria. Experts say it's possible that this winter's flu outbreak is making people more susceptible.