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Scarlet Fever

Bacterial disease caused by group A streptococci. As a result of droplet infection a pharyngeal infection develops with pharyngotonsillitis. It is followed by a clinical picture which includes raised temperature, a scarlatiniform exanthem and an enanthem. The skin lesions consist of small papules the size of a pinhead, pale at first, then distinctly red, which, on being stroked, give the impression of a velvety skin. Only in severe eruptions do macular lesions occur on the face. Pallor of the perioral zone and the chin region is characteristic. The tongue is coated at first, but after the 2nd or 3rd day scattered, swollen, red papillae give the ‘strawberry tongue’ appearance. After 7 - 10 days the rash is succeeded by desquamation. Complications which, as in other streptococcal infections, can develop after the stage of convalescence has been reached include myocarditis, glomerulonephritis and polyarthritis.

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