There's nothing romantic about the return of scarlet fever

Scarlet fever conjures an image of the saintly character Beth March in the 19th-century novel Little Women, the third of four daughters and the one who succumbs to the disease.

Scarlet fever
Photo: Alamy

But recent developments remind us it’s an infection not to be romanticised nor relegated to the past, with fears the once-common childhood killer might make a comeback.

Epidemic scarlet fever has