Scarlet fever, also called scarlatina, is a rash associated with strep throat. Captain Darin, can you tell us about scarlet fever?
Absolutely, Dr. Connolly. Scarlet fever was once a very serious childhood disease, but now it's easy to treat. It's caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus. The bacteria infect the throat and tonsils, causing strep throat, and produce a toxin that leads to the red rash characteristic of scarlet fever.
Anyone can get strep throat, but it is more common in children than adults. Children between five and 15 years old are more likely to get it than very young children. The risk for spreading and getting strep throat increases in crowded conditions, such as schools and daycare centers.
Although scarlet fever is easily treatable, it can cause complications if it's not treated early enough. The most serious complication that can result from untreated strep throat or scarlet fever is rheumatic fever, which can cause heart damage.