Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

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Overview

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness caused by a particular type of streptococcus infection. The main cause is a particular bacteria that releases toxins that cause a characteristic skin rash. It most often affects children during the winter, but adults can also get it. Scarlet fever is highly contagious, but fortunately, in most cases it’s a mild illness that passes quickly. Antibiotic treatment is effective in overcoming the disease and helps prevent the risk of complications, which are rare but potentially serious.

What Is Scarlet Fever?

Scarlet fever (sometimes called Scarlatina) is a bacterial disease caused by group A streptococcus. It often appears as a characteristic rash, which gives it it’s name, alongside high fever, a sore throat and strawberry-like lesions on the tongue. The disease is common in children between the ages of 5 and 18, but adults can also be affected.

How Is It Transmitted?

The most common form of transmission is close contact via respiratory droplets (coughing, sneezing or sputters projected while talking) or indirectly, by touching objects which have been recently contaminated.

The contagion period tends to be 10 to 21 days without treatment, and only 24 to 48 hours with appropriate treatment.

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