Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is an infection that can develop in people who have been infected by group A Streptococcus—or strep throat.
The infection most commonly affects children 5-15 years of age, although it can affect both children and adults alike. Scarlet fever is marked by a blotchy red rash all over the body as well as fever and a sore throat.
If treated early, the prognosis for scarlet fever is very good. The same antibiotics that are used to treat strep throat can clear up scarlet fever in a matter of days.
Since scarlet fever is caused by the same bacteria that causes strep throat, a person with scarlet fever will have a painful, sore throat. The throat sometimes has visible white patches or streaks of pus, and it may be difficult for the person to swallow.
A sore throat from Streptococcus usually comes on very quickly. It is a very contagious bacterium and can travel through droplets from coughing, sneezing, or from a person’s saliva on a utensil. The contagious period starts 12 hours after exposure to the bacteria until 12 hours after a person’s fever has gone down.
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