Scarlet fever used to be a serious childhood disease. But now it is no more so, due to the advances that have taken place in medical science.
Better diagnostic tools and discovery of effective medicines, particularly antibiotics, have helped in controlling the disease. Now there is a better understanding of the characteristics of the bacteria and its mechanism of transmission that has gone a long way in reducing the incidence of this disease.
Scarlet fever occurs mainly in children aged 3-8 years. Children less than 2 years acquire maternal antiexotoxin antibodies and children above 8 years develop immunity.What Causes Scarlet Fever?
Streptococcal bacteria which cause this fever are contagious. They spread from person to person through the aerial route. The airborne droplets from an infected person’s cough and sneeze enter a healthy person while breathing and that is enough to infect him. It can also spread by sharing contaminated clothes, towel, bed linen etc. It can spread through skin contact also if a person has streptococcal skin infection. A healthy person also acts as carrier of these bacteria. If his immune system is strong, then he may not develop any symptoms of the disease but however he can continue to spread it.
The risk of catching this infection is higher if people are living in over crowded environment such as boarding schools or day care centers. People who are in close contact with a person who has already developed the symptoms or has skin infection are at risk of contracting scarlet fever.
The symptoms of this disease include fever associated with sore throat, swollen neck glands, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, body ache, strawberry tongue and its characteristic rash beginning from the neck area.
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