scarlet fever

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A highly infectious disease caused by a strain of Streptococcus bacteria that produces toxins. Symptoms begin 2–4 days after exposure and include fever, tonsillitis, and a characteristic widespread scarlet rash. The tongue is also affected; initially covered by a thick white material, it then becomes bright red (the ‘strawberry tongue’). Treatment with antibiotics shortens the course of the disease and reduces the risk of secondary complications, which include kidney and ear inflammation. Medical name: scarlatina. Compare German measles.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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