scarlet fever


: an acute contagious febrile disease caused by hemolytic Group A streptococci and characterized by inflammation of the nose, throat, and mouth, generalized toxemia, and a red rash

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But in 2020, a study described scarlet fever as on the rise worldwide, after being almost eradicated by the 1940s. Michael Gollust, Health, 19 Feb. 2023 Rising levels of illnesses like flu and covid-19, as well as scarlet fever and strep throat in children, are also driving up demand for some services. Katherine Hignett, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2022 On Saturday, my two-year-old daughter developed scarlet fever. Cassie Werber, Quartz, 15 Dec. 2022 Group A Streptococcus bacteria, also known as strep A, are responsible for mild infections such as sore throat, impetigo, and scarlet fever. Dylan D. Barth And Mark E. Engel, STAT, 2 Feb. 2023 Symptoms typically include sore throat, headache, fever and a fine red rash known as scarlet fever. Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 29 Dec. 2022 And then in 2018, scarlet fever cases in Germany rose above what had already occurred in England and Hong Kong. Maryn Mckenna, WIRED, 19 Dec. 2022 According to legend, a mother lost five children to scarlet fever in the early 20th century and sometime after passed away from a heart condition. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 20 Oct. 2021 The antibiotic amoxicillin, used to treat strep throat and scarlet fever, is scarce in the US and the UK. WIRED, 11 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scarlet fever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1651, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scarlet fever was circa 1651

Dictionary Entries Near scarlet fever

Cite this Entry

“Scarlet fever.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

scarlet fever

: a contagious disease caused by a bacterium and characterized by fever, swelling, pain in the nose, throat, and mouth, and a red rash

Medical Definition

scarlet fever

scar·​let fever ˈskär-lət- How to pronounce scarlet fever (audio)
: an acute contagious febrile disease caused by Group A bacteria of the genus Streptococcus (especially various strains of S. pyogenes) and characterized by inflammation of the nose, throat, and mouth, generalized toxemia, and a red rash

called also scarlatina

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