Medical Q&As

Scarlet fever - very infectious?

My daughter has scarlet fever. Will my other two kids get it?

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection caused by a particular species of streptococcus. It has a short incubation period, generally one to two days. It is quite infectious and spreads by droplet infection, which is the mode of transmission that occurs with the common cold. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, a very fine aerosol spray is released into the air. The tiny droplets of moisture contain the bacterium and these can be inhaled by another person who can then develop the infection in the following day or two. Therefore it is possible that your other children could develop the infection but that is not inevitable. Finally, scarlet fever is not the serious condition it used to be and is now readily treatable.