Scarlet fever
Also called scarlatina, a disease caused by infection with group A streptococcal bacteria that occurs in a small proportion of people with strep throat. The incubation period between contracting strep and the onset of scarlet fever is short, typically 72 hours but may range from 1 to 7 days. Illness usually begins with a fever and sore throat and may be accompanied by chills, vomiting, abdominal pain and malaise. The strep bacteria produces a toxin that causes a rash that appears 1 to 2 days after the onset of illness. The rash initially appears on the neck and chest, then spreads over the body. Typically the rash begins as small red macules which gradually become elevated. The redness fades over a few days and the patient is left with a rough "sandpaper" feeling rash. While the rash is still red the patient may develop what are called Pastia's lines, bright red coloration of the creases under the arm and in the groin. The rash usually lasts for 3 days. As the rash fades, desquamation (peeling) may occur around the finger tips, toes, and groin area. The throat culture should be positive for group A Strep. There is a rapid antigen test (throat swab). Therapy is designed to treat the infection with antibiotics (usually penicillin) and relieve symptoms with analgesics, rest, and plenty of fluids. Scarlet fever is usually not a serious illness when treated promptly. Improvement typically begins within 24 hours of starting treatment. Very rarely do the bacteria spread to other parts of the body. If it does, the result may be ear infections, sinusitis, glomerulonephritis or rheumatic fever.

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scar·let fever 'skär-lət- n an acute contagious febrile disease caused by Group A bacteria of the genus Streptococcus (esp. various strains of S. pyogenes) and characterized by inflammation of the nose, throat, and mouth, generalized toxemia, and a red rash called also scarlatina

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a highly infectious disease caused by a strain of Streptococcus bacteria that produces toxins. Symptoms begin 2-4 days after exposure and include fever, tonsillitis, and a characteristic widespread scarlet rash. The tongue is also affected; initially covered by a thick white material, it then becomes bright red (the 'strawberry tongue'). Treatment with antibiotics shortens the course of the disease and reduces the risk of secondary complications, which include kidney and ear inflammation. Medical name: scarlatina. Compare German measles.

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infection with group A β-hemolytic streptococci, now usually milder than in the past when septic complications were common, such as otitis media, mastoiditis, and lymphadenitis. It is characterized by pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and a rash produced by an exotoxin called streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin, progressing from the trunk and neck to the limbs and face and sometimes followed by desquamation. Other symptoms include a red or white strawberry tongue and lines of hyperpigmentation in body creases (Pastia lines). Called also scarlatina.

Rash of scarlet fever with characteristic Pastia lines.


Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Scarlet fever — Scarlet Scar let, a. Of the color called scarlet; as, a scarlet cloth or thread. [1913 Webster] {Scarlet admiral} (Zo[ o]l.), the red admiral. See under {Red}. Scarlet bean (Bot.), a kind of bean ({Phaseolus multiflorus}) having scarlet flowers;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scarlet fever — ► NOUN ▪ an infectious bacterial disease affecting especially children, and causing fever and a scarlet rash …   English terms dictionary

  • scarlet fever — n. an acute contagious disease, esp. of children, caused by hemolytic streptococci and characterized by sore throat, fever, and a scarlet rash …   English World dictionary

  • scarlet fever — noun uncount a disease mainly affecting children that causes a fever, sore throat, and red spots on your skin …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • scarlet fever — also scar|la|ti|na [ˌska:ləˈti:nə US ˌska:r ] n [U] a serious infectious illness that mainly affects children, causing a sore throat and red spots on your skin …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Scarlet fever — EMedicine2|emerg|518 MeshID = D012541Scarlet fever is a disease caused by an exotoxin released by Streptococcus pyogenes . It is characterized by sore throat, fever, a strawberry tongue , and a fine sandpaper rash over the upper body that may… …   Wikipedia

  • scarlet fever — Pathol. a contagious febrile disease caused by streptococci and characterized by a scarlet eruption. [1670 80] * * * or scarlatina Acute infectious disease caused by some types of streptococcus bacteria. Fever, sore throat, headache, and, in… …   Universalium

  • scarlet fever — n. to develop; have scarlet fever * * * have scarlet fever to develop …   Combinatory dictionary

  • scarlet fever — N UNCOUNT Scarlet fever is an infectious disease which gives you a painful throat, a high temperature, and red spots on your skin …   English dictionary

  • scarlet fever — Synonyms and related words: African lethargy, Asiatic cholera, Chagres fever, German measles, Haverhill fever, acute articular rheumatism, ague, alkali disease, amebiasis, amebic dysentery, anthrax, bacillary dysentery, bastard measles, black… …   Moby Thesaurus

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