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What causes scarlet fever?

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Quick Answer

Scarlet fever is caused by group A Streptococcus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bacteria is usually present in a person's throat, nose and skin.

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Full Answer

Scarlet fever, or scarlatina, is a bacterial infection characterized by a very red throat, high fever, whitish coating on the tongue, headaches and nausea, explains the CDC. It affects everyone, although children between 5- and 12 years are the most susceptible. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to reduce the symptoms of, to treat scarlet fever and to prevent further spreading of the disease. If untreated, scarlet fever may result in conditions such as pneumonia, arthritis, kidney disease or skin infections.

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