Definition of Scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is a disease caused by infection with the group A bacteria (the same bacteria that causes ).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Scarlet fever was once a very serious childhood disease, but now is easily treatable. It is caused by the streptococcal bacteria, which produce a toxin that leads to the hallmark red of the illness.
The time between becoming infected and having symptoms is short, generally 1 – 2 days. The illness typically begins with a and .
Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that causes the throat infection. This is crucial to prevent rheumatic fever, a serious complication of strep throat and scarlet fever.
With proper antibiotic treatment, the symptoms of scarlet fever should get better quickly. However, the rash can last for up to 2 – 3 weeks before it fully goes away.
Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/9/2010