by AK Team
Scarlatina, more commonly that is known as scarlet fever, is a type of bacterial illness. This bacterial infection was earlier known as child fever as this type of bacterial infection mostly occurs in children of 5 to 15 years of age and causes serious childhood illness in them.
This bacterial infection is caused by a group of bacteria known as streptococcus or streptococci and the genus that causes scarlet fever is streptococcus pyogens (group A). This bacteria after entering into the person’s body causes strep throat, that is a type of rash or scarlet of the scarlet fever.
This bacterial infection is not that common. People who already have or have had streptococcal skin infections or any type of streptococcal infection in the past are most prone to this type of bacterial infection
The most common symptom of scarlatina is a red rash that feels like a sandpaper and a strawberry tongue, that is the tongue changes its colour to pink which looks like a strawberry due to rash and this is the most common and identifying characteristic symptom of this type of bacterial infection
The mode of infection of this type of bacterial infection is either air borne, that is by droplet infection (coughing, sneezing, speaking, etc) or by direct contact with the infected person or using the items that are used by the infected person
The most common treatment for this type of bacterial infection is antibiotic course and if the course is not completed it may lead to severe complications like kidney disease, various heart disease, etc.
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF SCARLET FEVER
- Scarlet fever is caused by streptococcal pyogens and it can occur to any age group but it most commonly affects the children of age group 5 to 15
- The most common and differentiative symptoms of this type of bacterial infection are rash (scarlet) and strawberry tongue.
- The rash in this type of bacterial disease is caused by a exotoxin that is known as pyrogenic exotoxin and they are produced by some specific strains of group A streptococcus pyogens.
- These strains that produce toxins for causing rash in scarlet fever only affect people who do not have any antitoxin antibodies already present in their body which can protect them against this type of bacterial infection.
- The pyrogenic exotoxin that are responsible for causing rash in scarlet fever are also known as erythrogenic toxins and these toxins cause erythematous rash of scarlet fever.
- These toxins (both the normal pyogenic and the erthrogenic toxins) are known as superantigens as they are able to cause an extensive immune response within the body by activation of some of the main cells that are responsible for the maintainance of the person’s immune system
- When a person gets infected by these superantigens (by both the toxins) the immune system of that person produces antibodies to fight that specific type of bacterial infection
- These antibodies do not gurantee to protect the body from this type of bacterial infection in future.
- The streptococcal bacteria reside in the nose or in the nasal passage of the infected person
- When the infected person speaks, sneezes or coughs the droplets are released and these droplets are transferred to a healthy person and then the healthy person who inhaled these droplets get infected by this type of bacterial infection
SYMPTOMS OF SCARLET FEVER
Scarlet fever is a bit common type of bacterial infection that is caused amongst individuals. There are various symptoms of this type of bacterial infection, the most common being the rash ( the ‘scarlet’ of the scarlet fever) and the strawberry tongue is the characteristic feature of this type of bacterial infection fever. There are various other symptoms that are caused by this type of bacterial infection. Some of the most common type of symptoms that are caused by this type of bacterial infection are listed below :
- Rash on the skin
- Sore throat
- Very high temperature (about 101 degree F or even higher)
- Whitish coat on the tongue that appear in the early stages on the illness
- Bright red skin
- Appearance of creases in the underarms, elbow and the area where the stomach and the thighs meet ( the groin area) and it turns red as well sometimes
- Swollen glands that are present in the neck
- Body ache
- Abdominal pain
- Flushed face
- Pale ring around the mouth
- Strawberry and bumpy tongue
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Enlarged lymph nodes
CAUSES OF SCARLET FEVER
- The main cause of scarlet fever is a bacteria streptococcus pyogens that causes this type of bacterial infection.
- And this type of bacterial infection is either pared by droplet infection (air borne – either by sneezing, coughing, talking of the infected person) or by direct contact with the infected person.
- There are several other causes and reasons that either directly or indirectly lead to this type of bacterial infection eventually causing the disease.
DIAGNOSIS OF SCARLET FEVER
If the doctor suspects that a specific person is having this type of bacterial infection he might suggest that person to undergo some diagnostic tests. Below listed are some of th diagnostic tests that are person should consider if he or she is suspected to have this type of bacterial infection :
- Physical examination
- Checking of throat, tonsils and the tongue
- Checking for he presence of any kind of rash
- Throat swab
- Rapid strep test for the detection of streptococcus bacteria presence if any
TREATMENT OF SCARLET FEVER
There are various treatments that are available for the treatment of this type of bacterial infection. The most common and basic type of treatment that a person receives who is infected by this type of bacterial infection is the antibiotic treatment. Other treatments that are available for this type of bacterial infection are listed below :
- Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Gargle with lukewarm and salty water
- Drink more fluids
- Adding moisture to the air in the patient’s room
- For the rash that is itching , use anti – itch medicine
- Treating fever and pain
- Avoiding irritants
- Providing comforting foods to the patient
- Completing antibiotics course ( not completing the antibiotics course may lead to serious complications such as kidney disease, heart disease and rheumatic fever as well )