Strep throat is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria. It is the most common bacterial infection of the throat. Scarlet Fever is caused by certain strains of strep.

    Signs and Symptoms usually begin suddenly and can include

    -       Sudden onset of fever, chills, sore throat, swollen glands in the neck

    -       Stomachache, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing

    -       The rash usually first appears on the neck and chest, and then spreads over the body. It is described as "sandpapery" in feel. It may occur with any skin infection due to Strep, such as impetigo or boils, as well as with strep throat.

    Incubation period Strep throat often appears one to three days after exposure.


    The bacteria are spread by direct contact with oral or nasal secretions or by those secretions being coughed into the air. Get a new toothbrush after you are no longer contagious, but before finishing the antibiotics. Otherwise the bacteria can live in the toothbrush and re-infect you when the antibiotics are done. Also, keep your family's toothbrushes and utensils separate, unless they have been washed.

    Infected persons are contagious from the appearance of the first symptoms, until 10-21 days after symptoms, in persons who do not receive treatment.  Persons treated with antibiotics are contagious for only 24-48 hours after beginning treatment.


    The diagnosis of strep throat is done by swabbing the throat, growing whatever germs are present, and checking for the germ that causes strep throat/scarlet fever. If the culture is positive, strep throat/scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics. This treatment prevents more serious illness such as rheumatic fever, which can damage the heart valves.

    A child diagnosed with strep throat or scarlet fever should stay home generally until 24 to 48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment. Your doctor should write a note informing the school when your child is no longer contagious and is safe to return to school.


    Strep throat/scarlet fever can only be prevented by avoiding exposure to a contagious person. Complications can be prevented by prompt treatment.




Last Modified on January 21, 2022