What was the impact of scarlet fever prior to the discovery of antibiotics?

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

In the preantibiotic era, infections due to GABHS were major causes of mortality and morbidity. Historically, scarlet fever resulted in death in 15-20% of those affected. However, scarlet fever is no longer associated with the deadly epidemics that made it so feared in the 1800s. Since the advent of antibiotic therapy, the mortality rate for scarlet fever has been less than 1%. However, school outbreaks still occur owing to significant close proximity of susceptible children in a limited and confined area, which can lasts for weeks.


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