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Scarlet Fever

Although scarlet fever (scarlatina) usually follows streptococcal pharyngitis, this disorder also may follow other streptococcal infections, such as wound infections, urosepsis, and puerperal sepsis. It's most common in children ages 3 to 15. The incubation period commonly lasts from 2 to 4 days but may be only 1 day or extend to 7 days.


Scarlet fever is caused by Group A beta hemolytic Streptococcus pyogenes. This type of bacteria produces a toxin that causes a rash. Scarlet fever usually develops in conjunction with strep throat but may occur if a strep infection of the skin or a surgical wound is left untreated.

Symptoms and Signs

  • Rash on neck and chest
  • Peeling (desquamation) of the finger tips, toes, and groin
  • Swollen, red tongue
  • Pastia's lines
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Generalized discomfort (malaise)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle aches

Diagnostic tests

A pharyngeal culture is positive for group A beta­hemolytic streptococci. A complete blood count reveals granulocytosis and, possibly, a reduced red blood cell count.


Antibiotic therapy with penicillin or erythromycin is administered for 10 days, along with antipyretics.


Bacteria are spread by direct contact with infected persons or by droplets exhaled by an infected person. Avoid contact with infected persons.

   Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia
   Pseudomonas Infections
   Relapsing Fever
   Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection
   Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
   Roseola Infantum
   Salmonella Infection
   Scarlet Fever
   Toxic Shock Syndrome
   Vancomycin Intermittent-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
   Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus
   West Nile Encephalitis

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