Scarlet fever is an illness that most often occurs in children
between the ages of 2 and 10 who have recently had strep throat. It is caused
by a poison (toxin) released by some types of strep bacteria.
most noticeable symptom of scarlet fever is a rough, red rash that feels like
sandpaper. The rash begins on the chest and abdomen and spreads over the rest
of the body within 1 to 2 days. The rash and redness are more apparent in skin
folds, especially in the groin, armpits, and elbow creases. Fever and a sore
throat usually develop before the rash appears.
Scarlet fever and
the strep infection that causes it are treated with antibiotics. The rash
itself is not contagious and does not need treatment. Most cases of scarlet
fever can be cured without the development of permanent complications.
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology