Search Button
Divider Home Button

Fact sheets page header

Streptococcal Sore Throat (Strep Throat)/Scarlet Fever

Strep throat (streptococcal sore throat) and scarlet fever (a strep throat with a rash) are common infections in young children. These illnesses are usually not serious; however, complications such as rheumatic fever or kidney disease may develop if children do not receive proper antibiotic treatment.

What causes Streptococcal Sore Throat/Scarlet Fever?

Streptococcus bacteria.

How is Streptococcal Sore Throat/Scarlet Fever spread?

Person-to-person by breathing in nose and throat secretions that an infected person (those with and without symptoms) has coughed or sneezed into the air. It usually takes two to five days from the time a person is exposed until symptoms develop.

What are the symptoms of Streptococcal Sore Throat/Scarlet Fever?

Strep throat: Sudden onset of fever, sore throat, swollen glands, headache and abdominal pain. Nausea and vomiting may occur, more often in children

Scarlet fever: A very fine raised rash (feels like sandpaper and blanches with pressure) is present. A fuzzy white tongue usually occurs. The rash appears most often on the neck, chest, in folds of the armpit, elbow, groin and in the inner thigh. Later on, there may be peeling of the skin on the fingertips and toes

How long is it contagious?

Until at least a full 24 hours after treatment begins.

How can I prevent infection?

1. If your child does not appear well or develops a sore throat and other symptoms listed above, keep him/her home and call your health care provider.
2. Frequent, careful hand washing by child care staff, children and household members.
3. Clean, rinse with clean water, then sanitize mouthed toys daily and when soiled.


For more information, please call the Northern Kentucky Health Department at 859.363.2070.

Revised November 2014