Characterized by bright red rashes, fever and sore throat, scarlet fever, or scarlatina, is a transmissible illness caused by a Streptococcus bacterium. It is a mild illness that is rarer and less threatening nowadays than it was in the past, but a scarlet fever outbreak may still lead to severe complications if left untreated. Scarlet fever is a mild disease but it may cause serious health problems.
Scarlet fever was once very common in children ages 2 to 10 — when it was associated with deadly epidemics — but now is relatively rare. The development of antibiotics and their early use in the treatment of streptococcal infections has prevented many cases of scarlet fever.