Scarlet fever is considered a classic childhood disease. Is one of the most common bacterial infectious diseases in this age group. The scarlet fever bacteria, so-called A-streptococci, occur worldwide and usually cause a sore throat and skin rash. The bacteria can form toxins. Once a patient has overcome the disease, he or she is protected in the future from the respective toxin of the pathogen. However, since the bacteria form different toxins, it is possible to contract scarlet fever more than once. Scarlet fever is highly contagious. Therefore, the disease occurs frequently in community facilities such as kindergartens or schools, especially in the colder season between October and March.
How is scarlet fever transmitted?
From person to person
Every fifth to tenth person is a carrier of the scarlet fever pathogens without falling ill themselves. Nevertheless, these people can pass on the bacteria to others. Mostly the pathogens are located in the throat area. When speaking, coughing or sneezing, the pathogens become airborne via the finest droplets of saliva and attach themselves to the mucous membrane of contact persons when inhaled.
Via contaminated objects
Extremely rarely, people become infected through shared objects such as cutlery or toys, if pathogens adhere to them.
What are the signs of the disease?
At the beginning headache, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, chills and rapidly rising fever usually occur. Abdominal pain and vomiting are also possible. The palate and throat are red, the tonsils are inflamed and may have a white coating. The lymph nodes on the neck swell up strongly.
After 1 to 2 days A non-itchy rash forms and spreads over the armpits, chest, and groin to the entire body. Palms of the hands. Soles of the feet are left out. The cheeks are strongly reddened, around the mouth the skin is pale. The rash disappears after 6 to 9 days. A few days later, the skin peels, especially on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Typical Scarlet fever is also known as "raspberry tongue": At first, the tongue is white, but after a few days it turns raspberry-colored.
Possible complications are inflammations of the middle ear, the sinuses and the lungs. Rather rare, but feared late effects are the acute rheumatic fever with inflammation of the large joints such as the knee joints, the heart muscle, the pericardium or the heart valves as well as inflammation of the kidneys. This can cause permanent damage. Complications are more common if scarlet fever has not been treated with antibiotics or if antibiotic therapy is stopped prematurely. When does the disease break out. How long one is contagious?Between the infection and the outbreak of the disease are usually 1 to 3 days.
If scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics, there is no longer any risk of infection within 24 hours after the first dose. Without antibiotic therapy, patients are contagious for up to 3 weeks after the first symptoms.