Scarlet fever

Common Name(s)

Scarlet fever, Scarlatina

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that may develop in people who have strep throat (or more rarely from impetigo). Some types of bacteria that cause strep throat (group A Streptococcus) release a toxin that causes a red rash. Not everyone is sensitive to the toxin; therefore, in the same family one child may just have strep throat, while the other may have strep throat with the rash. Children 5-15 years of age are more likely than other ages to develop scarlet fever. The bacteria causing scarlet fever spreads through person-to-person via air droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

In addition to the symptoms due to a strep throat, symptoms of scarlet fever include a red rash that has the appearance of sunburn and feels like sandpaper. The rash begins on the face or neck and will spread to the rest of the body. The folds of skin may become a deeper red than the rest of the rash and the face may appear flushed with a pale ring around the mouth. Other symptoms may include fever, sore and red throat with white or yellow patches, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, body aches, abdominal pain, headache and enlarged glands in the neck (lymph nodes) that are tender to touch.

Diagnosis will involve a physical examination of the neck, throat, tonsils, and tongue as well as assessing the appearance and texture of the rash if present. A doctor will confirm the presence of strep bacteria by a throat swab. Treatment will involve antibiotics and supportive therapy including fluids, treating fever and pain, or humidifying the air. It is important for a child to be treated if they develop scarlet fever because rare complications such as rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease, and kidney problems may develop. Prognosis with treatment is excellent. If you or your child develops a rash with a sore throat, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options.

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Scarlet fever" for support, advocacy or research.

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Scarlet fever" returned 58 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Epidemiology of Reemerging Scarlet Fever, Hong Kong, 2005-2015.
 

Author(s): Chun Fan Lee, Benjamin J Cowling, Eric H Y Lau

Journal: Emerging Infect. Dis.. 2017 10;23(10):1707-1710.

 

Annual incidence of scarlet fever in Hong Kong remained elevated after an upsurge in 2011. Incidence increased from 3.3/10,000 children <5 years of age during 2005-2010 to 18.1/10,000 during 2012-2015. Incidence was higher among boys and was 32%-42% lower in the week following school holidays.

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Spatiotemporal epidemiology of scarlet fever in Jiangsu Province, China, 2005-2015.
 

Author(s): Qi Zhang, Wendong Liu, Wang Ma, Yingying Shi, Ying Wu, Yuan Li, Shuyi Liang, Yefei Zhu, Minghao Zhou

Journal:

 

A marked increase in the incidence rate of scarlet fever imposed a considerable burden on the health of children aged 5 to 15 years. The main purpose of this study was to depict the spatiotemporal epidemiological characteristics of scarlet fever in Jiangsu Province, China in order ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Scarlet Fever.
 

Author(s): Alyson Brinker

Journal: N. Engl. J. Med.. 2017 May;376(20):1972.

 

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Scarlet fever" returned 1 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Hepatitis in scarlet fever.
 

Author(s): Keren Elishkewitz, Rivka Shapiro, Jacob Amir, Moshe Nussinovitch

Journal: Isr. Med. Assoc. J.. 2004 Sep;6(9):569-70.

 

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

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