Scarlet fever is on the rise, having some medical experts concerned. The illness is associated with a red rash covering areas of the body, a high-grade fever, and sore throat. Caused by the same or similar bacteria that causes strep throat the disease is treated with antibiotics.

Recent outbreaks of Scarlet Fever present the question that is becoming asked all to often, ‘Are bacteria becoming resistant to modern drugs?’ Scarlet fever has topped national news twice in 2017, both in April and November. The illness was a common killer in England in the 19th century, presently cases are on the rise in England and Southeast Asia Countries. The United States is not required to track the disease, however the CDC has not reported an increase in Scarlet fever cases. That being said, they are about 20,000 reported cases a year in the U.S.

Leaving many baffled overseas, researchers are attempting to uncover the origins of the steady increase of its appearance since 2009.

Mostly affecting children under the age of 10, Scarlet fever begins as a rash that can appear as a sunburn. The bacteria can spread via coughing or sneezing, and can lead to serious health complications in the brain, heart or kidney.

Could it be immune system changes that is bringing this illness back into the headlines? Or could it be more drug-resistance building up? Whatever the case, many illnesses from centuries past are making a come back, including tuberculosis.

Researchers studying the human microbiome will hopefully help us make headway in combating disease and keep things such as Scarlet Fever from major outbreaks.