Winnipeg pediatricians are seeing a spike in cases of scarlet fever.

The illness is like a form of strep throat but it left untreated it can lead to rheumatic fever and kidney problems.

Dr. Mradula Verma said there was an increase in cases at the beginning of the year and another spike right now.

It's important for parents to watch for sore throat and other symptoms, she said.

"Rash is very obvious, and then the tonsils can have really fiery-red appearance with little red dots on the palate in the back of the throat," she said.

Unlike years ago, when scarlet fever was a major cause of death, it is now very treatable with penicillin, Verma said.