Scarlet fever is an infection caused by Group A Strep (Strep pyogenes). It is very contagious and is easily spread through saliva or mucous.
The incubation period is 2-5 days.
The symptoms are fever, sore throat, general fatigue/headache/nausea. 24-48 laters a rash appears on the abdomen and spreads to the neck and extremities.
The rash has a rough (sandpaper-like) texture, and is usually worse in the skin folds (Pastia’s lines). Other symptoms include a strawberry tongue, flushed face but with peri-oral pallor, and cervical lymphadenopathy.
The symptoms usually resolve within a week. Commonly the fingertip skin peels after symptoms have resolved.
Diagnosis is clinical, although a throat swab can be considered. Most cases resolve on their own but treatment can be considered to: prevent complication; and prevent transmission.
The exclusion period is until the child has had 24 hours of antibiotics, or two weeks without any treatment.