Scarlet Fever

scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is a disease caused by group A streptococci bacteria, especially the Streptococcus pyogenes strain that has been causing an outbreak in the UK. It usually affects children. It is usually a mild illness but, like strep throat, can cause serious complications. These include rheumatic fever, heart damage, and serious infections of the joints and kidneys. More info:

The symptoms of scarlet fever are a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck (lymph node enlargement) and a red rash that spreads to most of the body. The rash is called a scarlet rash because it feels rough and raised, like sandpaper. It may begin before the other signs of the infection or a few days after. It may fade as the antibiotics kill the bacteria.

In the Red: Understanding Scarlet Fever and its Impact on Health

A child with scarlet fever should not go back to school or daycare until the rash and any fever have gone away and they have been taking antibiotics for 24 hours. Keeping children at home and reducing person-to-person contact can help prevent spreading the bacteria to others. If children do need to be around infected people, they should use proper respiratory etiquette and wash their hands often.

Doctors diagnose scarlet fever by doing a physical examination and swabbing the throat for strep bacteria. They can also confirm the diagnosis by doing blood tests. If the test results are positive, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. These are usually penicillin but other antibiotics can be used. The rash and the fever will usually go away in a few days after the antibiotics start to work.