Skin Disease

Scarlet fever

The pyrogenic exotoxins, previously known as erythrogenic toxins, cause the rash of scarlet fever. Since the mid-1980s, pyrogenic exotoxin-producing strains of group A Streptococcus have been linked to unusually severe invasive infections, including necrotizing fasciitis and a systemic syndrome termed the streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Several extracellular products stimulate specific antibody responses useful in the serodiagnosis of recent streptococcal infection.

Tests for these antibodies are used primarily for the detection of preceding streptococcal infection in cases of suspected acute rheumatic fever or poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis. Scarlet fever is not as common as it was a century ago when it was associated with deadly epidemics. The development of antibiotics and their early use in the treatment of streptococcal infections has prevented many cases of scarlet fever and the long-term complication of rheumatic fever.

Scarlet Fever is contagious for at least 10 to 21 days after infection and anyone infected should be quarantined for that period of time if untreated. The most common medicines prescribed are: antibiotics, skin ointment for the rash, and a fever reducer.

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