Most parents of kindergartners know it: At regular intervals the message appears that the infectious disease scarlet fever bypasses. But where is the difference to "angina" and is really every proof of certain bacteria in the throat equal to scarlet fever? At the end of the 19th century scarlet fever was one of the most frequent causes of death in childhood. Fortunately, severe events have seldom become very popular today. Scarlet fever is a common infectious disease that occurs especially in the winter months and especially affects children between the ages of 3 and 8 years. It is therefore counted among the teething troubles (even though adults may be affected as well). In some federal states, scarlet fever is one of the notifiable infectious diseases.

Causes of scarlet fever

The pathogens are bacteria that belong to the globular bacteria, the streptococcus (group A). They are mainly transmitted by droplets in the air and direct contact from person to person.

The Unpleasant: In contrast to most other childhood illnesses, a completed infection is no guarantee that you will be spared the next time. This is mainly because there are several species of scarlet fever bacteria and that the germs are widespread.

There is no vaccine against scarlet fever. Almost one in ten carries the germs on his mucous membranes in the nose and throat, without even developing discomfort - but he can infect others. In addition, scarlet fever is considered a special form of streptococcal A infection whose pathogens can form a very specific poison.

The other streptococcus types, on the other hand, usually cause "normal" upper respiratory tract infections. Since these - like scarlet fever - are often accompanied by an inflammation of the tonsils and sore throats, the term "angina" (lat. Angere = narrowing) is sometimes equated with scarlet fever.

Facts about scarlet fever

  • Not every person infected with the scarlet fever bacteria gets sick - healthy people, too, can carry the germs unnoticed.
  • If the germs in a healthy person, for example, in a throat swab detected, one should not speak of scarlet fever. This name does not apply until appropriate symptoms occur.
  • Not all group A streptococci cause scarlet fever but most normal bacterial respiratory infections.
  • Angina (tonsillaris) is not the same as scarlet fever, but a generic term for all tonsillitis (tonsillitis).
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