Scarlet Fever: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 6/14/2017

Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, usually begins from a Streptococcus infection in the throat. Symptoms of this infection include

Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can accompany these symptoms. The tongue can be swollen and have a red, bumpy appearance sometimes referred to as "strawberry" tongue. A rash is also characteristic of scarlet fever. It usually begins as small, flat red areas on the skin and can develop into small, bumpy red areas. It usually begins on the chest and trunk and extends to the arms and legs, but the palms and soles of the feet are usually spared. The rash has been described as feeling like sandpaper. Skin creases (groin, elbows, underarms) may appear more reddened. The skin can start to peel as the rash fades.

Causes of scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is caused by an infection with toxin-producing group A Streptococcus bacteria.


Sotoodian, Bahman. "Scarlet Fever." Mar. 7, 2016. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/14/2017

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