Scarlet fever

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.

See our DFTB post for more details on this.

The exclusion period is until the child has had 24 hours of antibiotics, or two weeks without any treatment.