What conditions should be included in the differential diagnoses of scarlet fever?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Bahman Sotoodian, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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The overwhelming majority of cases of scarlet fever are caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GABHS). Other bacteria can cause a pharyngitis and similar rash, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, Arcanobacterium haemolyticum, and Clostridium species. [21] The differential diagnosis includes other causes of fever accompanied by erythematous eruptions. Recurrent cases of scarlet fever have been reported from reinfection with strains unrelated to Streptococcus pyogenes. [22]

The cutaneous eruption of fifth disease may be confused with that of scarlet fever, but the affected child is usually well and afebrile.

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