Scarlet fever, or scarlatina, is a disease caused by the bacteria known as group A streptococcus or Streptococcus pyogenes, the same bacterium that causes strep throat. Scarlet fever is characterized by a rash.
Individuals who develop scarlet fever are usually under the age of 18, and are generally between the ages of five and 15. Adults rarely become infected with scarlet fever. Approximately 10% of individuals who become infected with group A streptococcus develop scarlet fever. Ethnicity and gender do not appear to be risk factors for scarlet fever.
If treated with antibiotics, children will usually make a full recovery in approximately 10 days. However, swollen glands and swollen tonsils may last for a few weeks. Rare but serious complications may result from untreated scarlet fever, such as rheumatic fever.
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