Scarlet fever is caused by a type of bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, which is a group A streptococcal infection. It is spread through close contact with an infected person or through contact with infected secretions such as saliva, mucous, or shared objects like drinking glasses or toys.
The diagnosis of scarlet fever is based on a combination of physical examination findings, history, and laboratory testing. Signs and symptoms include a red rash, fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and white patches on the tongue. Other possible symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and headache. A throat swab is usually done to confirm the diagnosis.
Scarlet fever can be mistaken for other illnesses such as measles, rubella, or even chickenpox. It is important to differentiate it from these illnesses as the treatment and prognosis may be different.
Treatment for scarlet fever is usually with antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotic is penicillin. Other antibiotics may also be used depending on the severity of the infection. It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics to prevent any potential complications.
The prognosis for scarlet fever is generally good. Most people make a full recovery within one to two weeks with proper treatment. Complications of scarlet fever are rare but can include ear infections, pneumonia, and rheumatic fever.