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Scarlet Fever

Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases: Scarlet Fever

Causal agent
Group A beta-haemolytic Streptococci.

Common clinical features
Symptoms include sore throat, fever, vomiting, headache, malaise and rash on neck and chest (classically a fine punctate erythema)1.

Occurs worldwide though less commonly in the tropics1.


Mode of transmission
Via respiratory droplets or direct contact with infected person.

Incubation period
1-2 days.

Period of Communicability
Untreated - 10-21 days.

Treated - communicability generally ends within 24 hours of antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotic treatment to eliminate bacteria.

Prevention and control
Avoid contact with infected persons.


  1. Hawker J, Begg N, Blair I, Reintjes R, Weinberg J. Communicable Disease Control Handbook, Blackwell, 2005.

© CM Kirwan 2006