Scarlet fever is an infectious bacterial illness which most commonly affects children and is caused by the Group A streptococcal virus. While this illness used to be considered a scary and often fatal disease, it is now controlled and easily treated. Children with scarlet fever often first present with a high fever and a distinctive rash.
It is also associated with a sore throat, an achy body and a swollen red "strawberry" tongue which can remain swollen for days after the initial infection. It must be noted that scarlet fever is not the same as rheumatic fever, although in some children the scarlet fever may progress into rheumatic fever a serious complication that can result in long term consequences.