Scarlet Fever

1 January 2017

Scarlet fever is caused by infection with exotoxin-producing group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GABHS), notably Streptococcus pyogenes. The release of a particular toxin is responsible for the characteristic scarlet-colored rash seen with scarlet fever (giving the disease its name). In the majority of cases, scarlet fever occurs as a result of a pharyngeal streptococcal infection (strep throat), though it can less commonly occur as result of streptococcal infections at other sites, such as the skin. It is estimated that scarlet fever develops in up to 10% of individuals who develop streptococcal pharyngitis.

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Scarlet fever can occur at any time of the year, though it is more common during the winter and spring. The streptococcal bacterium is typically spread via airborne respiratory droplets transmitted by infected individuals or by individuals who carry the bacteria but do not experience any symptoms (asymptomatic carriers). Vector This illness can be caught from contact with the sick person because this germ is carried in the mouth and nasal fluids. The disease can be spread through contact with droplets shed when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

If you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching something that has these fluids on them, you may become ill. Also, if you drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as the sick person, you could also become ill. The best way to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands often and avoid sharing eating utensils. It is especially important for anyone with a sore throat to wash his or her hands often and not share eating or drinking utensils. Incubation period Symptoms usually begin within two to five days after a person is exposed.

The fever usually subsides within a few days, and recovery is complete by two weeks Treatment Because of the nature of the infection and the danger of serious complications, scarlet fever cannot be treated solely with alternative therapies. A course of antibiotics and treatment by a physician is imperative. However, alternative therapies may be used to relieve the symptoms of fever and sore throat, such as homeopathy, massage with essentials oils, allopathic treatment. If the patient is treated promptly with antibiotics, full recovery can be expected.

Patients who have had scarlet fever develop immunity to the disease and cannot be infected again. Prevention Although scarlet fever is only contagious before treatment with antibiotics is begun, it is wise to avoid exposure to children at any stage of the disease. The best preventative measure against scarlet fever is early and appropriate treatment with antibiotics for group A streptococcal infection. This will significantly decrease or eliminate an individual’s chances of developing scarlet fever. The introduction and widespread use of antibiotics has been the most important factor in diminishing the cases of scarlet fever.

Minimizing the risk of transmitting group A streptococcal infection is also important. Try to avoid close contact with individuals who have been diagnosed with strep throat, and avoid sending children to school or day care until they have been treated with antibiotics for at least 24 hours. Those individuals diagnosed with strep throat should try to avoid spreading the disease to others by maintaining good hygiene practices (wash hands frequently, use separate utensils and cups, and cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing).

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