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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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 51 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Scarlet Fever.
 

Author(s): Alyson Brinker

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

 

Last Updated: 17 May 2017

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Scarlet fever in Poland in 2014
 

Author(s): Ewa Staszewska-Jakubik, Mirosław P Czarkowski, Barbara Kondej

Journal: Przegl Epidemiol. ;70(2):195-202.

 

Assessment of the epidemiological situation of scarlet fever in Poland in 2014.

Last Updated: 25 Oct 2016

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Far East Scarlet-Like Fever Caused by a Few Related Genotypes of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, Russia.
 

Author(s): Nelly F Timchenko, Ruslan R Adgamov, Alexander F Popov, Ekaterina K Psareva, Konstantin A Sobyanin, Alexander L Gintsburg, Svetlana A Ermolaeva

Journal: Emerging Infect. Dis.. 2016 Mar;22(3):503-6.

 

We used multivirulence locus sequence typing to analyze 68 Yersinia pseudotuberculosis isolates from patients in Russia during 1973-2014, including 41 isolates from patients with Far East scarlet-like fever. Four genotypes were found responsible, with 1 being especially prevalent. ...

Last Updated: 19 Feb 2016

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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: 17 Sep 2004

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