In the year 1878, data collection on infectious diseases which result in high mortality rates was started in the United States. Publication of reports on notifiable diseases was started in 1879.
In the year 1920 it was noted that the frequency and severity of scarlet fever is declining. Penicillin antibiotic was introduced. A further fall in scarlet fever cases was noted in 1950.
In the year 1961, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assumes the responsibility of compiling and publishing data on nationally notifiable diseases. In the year 1970, scarlet fever was removed from the U.S. list of notifiable diseases.
Since 1999, a total of 9,400 cases of scarlet fever have been reported in U.S.A. At the same time no. of cases reported for strep throat (acute pharyngitis and tonsillitis) is 3 million cases per annum. So it appears that number of scarlet fever cases have dropped substantially and CDC finds it not worthwhile monitoring this disease.
Severe forms of scarlet fever and its complications resulting from inappropriate treatment are very rare in developed countries. Only 5 cases of death were reported from streptococcal sore throat and scarlatina in the United States in 1983.
Now scarlet fever has become a rarely occurring infectious disease. Diagnosis is made on the basis of symptoms and the presence of infection is confirmed by diagnostic tests and mainly penicillin is used as the antibiotic to cure the patient. In cases where the patient is allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics such as erythromycin, cephalosporin, or clindamycin are used as effective alternative.
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