Scarlet fever is caused by the same type of bacteria that cause strep throat. In scarlet fever, the bacteria release a toxin that produces the rash and red tongue.
The infection spreads from person to person via droplets expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The incubation period — the time between exposure and illness — is usually two to four days.
March 13, 2014
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- Gibofsky A, et al. Epidemiology and pathogenesis of acute rheumatic fever. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 22, 2013.
- Wessels MR. Streptococcal pharyngitis. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011;364:648.
- Van Driel ML, et al. Different antibiotic treatments for group A streptococcal pharyngitis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004406.pub3/abstract. Accessed Oct. 22, 2013.
- Get smart: Symptom relief. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/symptom-relief.html. Accessed Oct. 22, 2013.
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