Scarlet Fever (cont.)
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Scarlet fever facts
- What is scarlet fever?
- What is the history of scarlet fever?
- What causes scarlet fever?
- What are scarlet fever symptoms and signs?
- How long is scarlet fever contagious?
- How is scarlet fever diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for scarlet fever?
- Can scarlet fever be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for scarlet fever?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Can scarlet fever be prevented?
Scarlet fever is spread through (1) droplets expelled during coughing or (2) coming into contact with hands or items contaminated with GAS. To reduce the risk of contagion, the mouth should be covered with an arm or sleeve when coughing. Frequent hand washing is recommended, and eating utensils should not be shared with an infected person. Early treatment of strep throat may reduce the risk of progression to scarlet fever. Infected people should not go to school or work until 24 hours after starting antibiotics. Rarely, scarlet fever can occur when GAS infects a wound. Keeping wounds clean and dry will reduce the risk of infection.
What is the prognosis for scarlet fever?
Most cases of scarlet fever respond well to antibiotics and resolve completely. Rarely, complications may occur. Complications include sepsis, abscess, or spread of the infection to other areas. Sepsis is caused when the bacteria enters the bloodstream. Sepsis is a serious condition and may cause a patient to go into shock. If the bacteria invade local tissues, they may form pockets of pus (abscesses), especially in the back of the throat or around the tonsils. Extension to the sinuses or ear (otitis media) may occur. Uncommonly, the bacteria may invade the central nervous system causing meningitis or brain abscesses.
There have been many attempts to create a vaccine to protect against scarlet fever, but none have been successful.
Radikas, R., and C. Connolly. "Young Patients in a Young Nation: Scarlet Fever in Early Nineteenth Century Rural New England." Pediatr Nurs. 33.1 Jan.-Feb. 2007: 53-55.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Scarlet Fever." Apr. 13, 2008. <http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/scarletfever_g.htm>.
Last Editorial Review: 11/30/2010 8:29:36 PM
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