How often you can get a scarlet fever infection?
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Multiple cases of scarlet fever are possible
Scarlet fever occurs preferentially in children between four and seven years of age. However, there is a risk of contracting the disease at any age. The acute infectious disease initially manifests itself through general symptoms. These include:
– fever, – a deep red throat, – vomiting, and – chills.
Later, white coatings are among the symptoms. As the disease progresses, it forms a rash with red spots on the skin. The rash with slightly raised, reddened areas is the characteristic feature of the disease. Scarlet fever is considered contagious.
Repeated illness of scarlet fever due to different pathogens
Therefore, after the disease, persons wonder whether there is immunity to recurrence. This is the case, for example, with the well-known chickenpox. The situation is different for scarlet fever. Scarlet fever patients do not necessarily get it exclusively once. After the disease has subsided, there is no general immunity. There is a risk of getting scarlet fever again.
Immunity to the toxin that causes the disease is not sufficient due to the diversity of pathogens
Bacteria called streptococci are considered to be the triggers of scarlet fever. The pathogens are transmitted via contact and droplet infection. During infection, the bacteria produce the toxin toxin.
This is the trigger of the symptoms that occur. If the toxin gets into the skin, the rash typical of the disease develops. As a result of scarlet fever, the body develops immunity to the toxin that is predominant during the infection.
There are several species of streptococci that cause scarlet fever. Immunity does not apply to other subgroups of streptococci. For this reason, a disease subsequently does not provide permanent protection. As a result, there is a risk of getting scarlet fever repeatedly. In one to four percent of cases, a patient gets sick again with the streptococcal infection.
No vaccination against scarlet fever
In addition to the immunity developed by the body, for many diseases there is the option of preventing their occurrence with a vaccination. Said possibility does not exist with regard to scarlet fever. So far, medicine has no effective vaccine available. The greatest problem is the variety of pathogens mentioned above. Therefore, researchers are not able to develop a substance that is effective for all streptococcal species.
Avoid contact with people who have the disease
Due to the lack of immunity and vaccination, the only way to reduce the risk of scarlet fever is to take preventive measures. If a person in the family or acquaintance falls ill with scarlet fever, contact avoidance is most likely to help. Regular washing and disinfection of the hands reduces the risk of getting scarlet fever as well.
Getting scarlet fever for the first time does not rule out a recurrence of the disease. The body develops too little immunity to the triggering toxin to prevent getting it again. The reason is the variety of streptococcal pathogens that cause scarlet fever.