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How do physicians diagnose scarlet fever?

In most cases, the patient's history and physical exam will result in a presumptive diagnosis of scarlet fever. However, throat swabs (or rarely wound or other sites of infection) are cultured to determine if GABHS are present. Unfortunately, there are many other infections that can cause both a skin rash and a fever. Isolation of GABHS usually is enough to confirm the diagnosis of scarlet fever. If GABHS is not identified, the symptoms are likely due to another underlying problem.

Return to Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Jo123, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 27

My daughter was misdiagnosed. We were told she had a virus. Although I thought on, as I had experienced scarlet fever before- as I knew someone that had it, so I was sure she had it. Four days later, a few phone calls, a visit to the doctor, and then when her temperature was too high to ignore, we took her to hospital and there she was diagnosed with scarlet fever and given antibiotics.

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Comment from: zorrosmom, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 15

My child's scarlet fever was misdiagnosed as a virus as he had no sore throat but had a rash from head to toe. He even had red hands and feet that burned him. He also had a high fever of 103.8 that wouldn't go down even with Tylenol to under 101.2. He vomited only one day but the doctor said to ride out the virus. So five days after the onset of the fever and rash, he had brown urine, so we rushed him to the hospital and they said he had scarlet fever and a liver that was failing due to high fever and so many days with severe dehydration and a bladder infection, too. So he had IV fluids with IV meds for bacterial infection and then was released after a few hours. But still 30 hours later, he still has a fever of 102. And his urine is still not light. So we will have to go to doctor again on Monday. Hopefully, he will be better. Ooh, he is on amoxicillin 500 mg, too. So, this was an experience that I do not want to repeat.

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