Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina) (cont.)

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What is the prognosis of scarlet fever? What are the long-term effects of scarlet fever?

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The prognosis for scarlet fever, when treated appropriately with antibiotics, is usually excellent. Patients recover completely and the skin symptoms progressively decrease over several weeks. Untreated scarlet fever has a worse prognosis and before the use of antibiotics, scarlet fever had a mortality (death) rate of about 15%-20%. Currently, the mortality rate is less than 1% because of early recognition and early treatment with antibiotics. In general, appropriately diagnosed and treated scarlet fever results in few if any long-term effects. However, if complications develop for whatever reason, problems that include kidney damage, hepatitis, vasculitis, septicemia, congestive heart failure, and even death may occur.

Is it possible to prevent scarlet fever? Is there a scarlet fever vaccine?

The best way to prevent or lessen the chance of getting scarlet fever is hand washing. In addition, avoiding communal use of utensils, towels, or other personal items should be avoided. Transmission of the disease is person to person, usually by droplets, so direct contact with infected individuals should be avoided. Patients who are treated with antibiotics and have had no fever for about 24 hours are considered to be noncontagious. No vaccine is available for humans to prevent scarlet fever.

REFERENCES:

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Scarlet Fever: A Group A Streptococcal Infection." Jan. 6, 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/Features/ScarletFever/>.

Zabawski Jr., Edward J. "Scarlet Fever." Medscape.com. Apr. 30, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1053253-overview>.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2014

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