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Scarlet fever

A rare infectious disease, most often seen in childhood, that is caused by a strain of streptococcal bacteria and spread by exhaled breath or coughing.  Symptoms arise four to seven days after infection; they include an extreme sore throat, vomiting, high fever, and a rapidly spreading rash of tiny red spots on the upper trunk and neck.  The face is flushed, except around the mouth.  A white coating with red spots can develop on the tongue (strawberry tongue), which then comes off after a few days to reveal a bright red colour.  After this event, the fever quickly subsides, the rash fades, and the skin can peel.  Glomerulonephritis (inflammation in the kidney) or rheumatic fever can, rarely, develop some weeks later.  Antibiotics prevent this and promote a quick recovery.

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