Scarlet fever

Acute streptococcal infection that occurs above all in childhood. The incubation period is one to seven days. The early stages of the disease include a severe cold in the nose, high fever and throat inflammation. Then a skin eruption in the form of small red spots covers the whole body, with the exception of the area around the mouth. The eruption disappears after a few days, and the skin peels. The tongue takes on a particular red cast. Possible associated symptoms in the first week are swollen and painful lymph nodes in the neck, otitis, sinusitis, or spread of the infection to the pericardium, pulmonary membrane or bones. Such spreading is rare if the illness is properly treated in the early stages. Later complications may occur between the first and third weeks in the form of inflammation of the pelvis of the kidney, rheumatic fever and a vascular condition. Scarlet fever is infectious, but contracting it confers immunity.