scarlet fever

scarlet fever

Acute infectious disease caused by some types of streptococcus bacteria. Fever, sore throat, headache, and, in children, vomiting are followed in two to three days by a rash. The skin peels in about one-third of cases. After a coating disappears, the tongue is swollen, red, and bumpy (strawberry tongue). Glands are usually swollen. Complications frequently involve the sinuses, ears (sometimes with mastoiditis), and neck. Abscesses are common. Nephritis, arthritis, or rheumatic fever may occur later. Treatment involves penicillin, bed rest, and adequate fluid intake. Scarlet fever has become uncommon and much milder since the mid-20th century, independent of the use of antibiotics.


scarlet fever or scarlatina

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on scarlet fever, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up scarlet fever? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.