How do group A streptococci cause scarlet fever?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Bahman Sotoodian, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Group A streptococci are normal inhabitants of the nasopharynx. Group A streptococci can cause pharyngitis, skin infections (including erysipelas pyoderma and cellulitis), pneumonia, bacteremia, and lymphadenitis.

Most streptococci excrete hemolyzing enzymes and toxins. The erythrogenic toxins produced by GABHS are the cause of the rash of scarlet fever. The erythema-producing toxin was discovered by Dick and Dick in 1924. Scarlet fever is usually associated with pharyngitis; however, in rare cases, it follows streptococcal infections at other sites.

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