Scarlet Fever - Diagnosis

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How is scarlet fever diagnosed?

A physical examination is the first step in diagnosis. The doctor will look inside the mouth, feel around the neck, examine a rash, and check for fever. A throat swab will be done to send for culture or to do a rapid strep test to try to find the bacteria. A definitive test consists of culturing a GAS strain that produces the toxin from the patient, but most clinicians presumptively diagnose the infection based on a positive rapid screen test, patient symptoms, and the skin rash. Other tests such as blood tests may be done, depending on how sick the patient appears.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: zorrosmom, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 15

My child's scarlet fever was misdiagnosed as a virus as he had no sore throat but had a rash from head to toe. He even had red hands and feet that burned him. He also had a high fever of 103.8 that wouldn't go down even with Tylenol to under 101.2. He vomited only one day but the doctor said to ride out the virus. So five days after the onset of the fever and rash, he had brown urine, so we rushed him to the hospital and they said he had scarlet fever and a liver that was failing due to high fever and so many days with severe dehydration and a bladder infection, too. So he had IV fluids with IV meds for bacterial infection and then was released after a few hours. But still 30 hours later, he still has a fever of 102. And his urine is still not light. So we will have to go to doctor again on Monday. Hopefully, he will be better. Ooh, he is on amoxicillin 500 mg, too. So, this was an experience that I do not want to repeat.

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Comment from: Jo123, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 27

My daughter was misdiagnosed. We were told she had a virus. Although I thought on, as I had experienced scarlet fever before- as I knew someone that had it, so I was sure she had it. Four days later, a few phone calls, a visit to the doctor, and then when her temperature was too high to ignore, we took her to hospital and there she was diagnosed with scarlet fever and given antibiotics.

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