For the typical complaints are caused by the scarlet streptococcus, toxic substances (so-called toxins) responsible. An acquired disease leaves only an immunity against these special toxins of the triggering streptococcal type. If the scarlet fever breaks out, the complaints usually start one to three days after the infection.
Symptoms and course of scarlet fever
The following symptom development is typical of scarlet fever:
- First symptoms usually include high fever, feeling sick and sore throat with difficulty swallowing (angina). Occasionally, headaches are also one of the symptoms.
- The throat and tonsils are red and the cervical lymph nodes are swollen.
- The tongue shows a whitish coating which then recedes from the edges and gives way to strong, shiny redness by the third to fourth day. The taste buds stand out. This phenomenon is referred to as one of the symptoms called "raspberry tongue".
- The characteristic rash occurs one to two days after onset of illness, which is usually accompanied by a decrease in fever. The rash consists of pin-sized, raised spots. The skin feels like sandpaper. The rash usually begins at the upper body and then spreads to the whole body. The mouth part is spared from the rash ("milk beard"), as are the palms and soles of the feet; in the armpits and groin bends the rash is most evident.
- After a week or so, the rash disappears, shortly afterwards there is a desquamation of the skin: on hands and feet, large dander (which are not contagious!) Dissolve.
Complications of scarlet fever
Fortunately, serious events and consequential damages are very rare here today. Possible complications are on the one hand - as with many other streptococci - the removal of the pathogen elsewhere, for example, middle ear inflammation and sinusitis (sinusitis), purulent encapsulation (abscesses, for example, joints, in the bone marrow or in the brain) or pneumonia can lead.
A life-threatening - and today also rarely occurring - complication is the flooding of the bloodstream with bacterial toxins (streptococcal Toxic Shock syndrome).
Sometimes the antibodies produced by the immune system against the scarlet-streptococci are directed against the body's own tissue. This can lead a few weeks later to kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis), joint inflammation (rheumatic fever) and inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) - a complication that has become extremely rare under antibiotic therapy.