Scarlet fever may be contagious if a person becomes infected with a group A streptococcal bacterial strain that produces the scarlet fever toxin. However, not all people who get group A streptococcal infections develop scarlet fever; only a small percentage of these patients go on to develop scarlet fever.
Streptococci can be spread to other people by:
- Breathing in infected droplets that have been coughed or sneezed out by others.
- Direct physical contact with an infected person.
- Sharing food or drink with an infected person.
The incubation period is short and you are likely to become ill within 1 – 3 days of becoming infected.
An individual should see a medical caregiver if they have had a recent infection of strep throat and then develop the symptoms of scarlet fever. It's important to have a physician evaluate the patient to be sure that appropriate diagnosis and treatment take place quickly.
Keyword: scarlet fever contagious