Scarlet Fever (cont.)
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Scarlet Fever Diagnosis
The diagnosis of scarlet fever can be made by your health-care provider utilizing information obtained from your medical history, physical exam, and laboratory testing.
Because the majority of cases of scarlet fever are associated with strep throat, your health-care provider may gently swab the back of the throat and tonsils using a cotton swab to evaluate for this illness. A rapid antigen detection test, sometimes referred to as a rapid strep test, may provide results within several minutes, while a throat culture (which is more sensitive) may require 24-48 hours before the results are available. In some cases, your health-care provider may choose to obtain blood work. A complete blood count may demonstrate evidence of infection, and streptococcal antibody testing (for example, the antistreptolysin O test) can provide evidence of a previous streptococcal infection, though this test is not useful in the acute phase of the illness. Finally, in the uncommon scenario that the streptococcal infection is arising from an alternative site, appropriate evaluation and testing of these areas to confirm a streptococcal infection needs to be undertaken.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/8/2014
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