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Scarlet Fever Complications

Some possible complications of scarlet fever include sinusitis, otitis media, pneumonia, and abscess. Since scarlet fever is now treated with antibiotics, however, complications are not nearly as common as they once were.

Can Complications With Scarlet Fever Occur?

Because both scarlet fever and strep throat are caused by group A streptococcus bacteria, possible scarlet fever complications are similar to those of strep throat; however, with the widespread use of antibiotics to treat these conditions, these complications are not as common as they once were.

Specific Scarlet Fever Complications

Complications of scarlet fever can occur if the group A streptococcus spreads from the throat to other surrounding tissues, such as the tonsils or sinuses. Problems can also occur if the bacteria spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to other organs, such as the brain or heart.
Specific scarlet fever complications include:
  • Sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Otitis media (ear infection)
  • Meningitis
  • Rheumatic fever (inflammatory disease that can affect the heart, joints, skin, and brain)
  • Poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis
  • Pneumonia
  • Bacteremia (bloodstream infections)
  • Cervical lymphadenitis (inflammation of lymph glands in the neck)
  • Abscess (collection of pus in tissue).
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Scarlet Fever Disease

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