|AGE Most common between the ages of 6 and 12||GENDER Not significant factors|
|LIFESTYLE Not significant factors||GENETICS Not significant factors|
Scarlet fever is a rare streptococcal infection causing a red rash and a sore throat.
The charateristic red rash of scarlet fever begins on the trunk and is often most obvious in the armpits.
Once a common and dangerous childhood disease, scarlet fever has become rare in developed countries since the introduction of antibiotics. This infection is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, transmitted in microscopic droplets from coughs and sneezes. A prominent feature of the condition is a widespread scarlet rash.
What are the symptoms?
About 1-3 days after infection, the following symptoms may develop:
- Sore throat and headache.
- Fever and vomiting.
- Raised, red rash, spreading rapidly on the neck, trunk, armpits, and groin.
A thick, white coating may develop on the tongue, disappearing in a few days to leave the tongue bright red with a pimpled “strawberry” appearance.
What might be done?
Scarlet fever is usually diagnosed from the symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, a throat swab may be taken.
The infection is treated with antibiotics, and the symptoms usually begin to improve within 24-48 hours. Most people recover within a week.
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