How does the incidence of scarlet fever vary by age?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Bahman Sotoodian, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Scarlet fever predominantly occurs in children aged 5-15 years, although it can also occur in older children and adults. It is uncommon in children aged 3 years or younger. [10] By the time children are 10 years old, 80% have developed lifelong protective antibodies against streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins, which prevent future disease manifestation. Scarlet fever is rare in children younger than 1 year because of the presence of maternal antiexotoxin antibodies and lack of prior sensitization.

Leslie et al suggest from a case-control study that antecedent streptococcal infection can increase the likelihood of children developing certain neuropsychiatric disorders, including Tourette syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and major depressive disorder. [11]


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