Deadly scarlet fever cases have soared to the highest level in England for 50 years, new research reveals.
Considerably smaller than any bacterium, a virus is rather like an encoded chemical, operating only when certain conditions are available. Instead, it hijacks a cell belonging to the body of its host and modifies the cells reproductive mechanism so that the cell produces viruses in place of new cells.
Because of this strategy, viruses are described as being intracellular.
Treatment includes antibiotics, rest, drinking fluids and painkillers to reduce fever, if necessary.
Infected people should stay at home until they recover.
Although it is unclear what is causing the scarlet fever outbreaks, incidence is typically higher during winter and spring, and therefore the increasing number of sufferers may be due to climate change. Prevention focuses on hand washing, not sharing personal items and staying away from infected people.