Difference Between Rheumatic and Scarlett Fever

The two terms Rheumatic and Scarlett fever are mostly seen affecting children and sometimes adults.


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Although the symptoms of rheumatic and scarlet fever are different, rheumatic fever is more of an inflammatory disease, and scarlet fever is a temporary infection. Let’s take a closer look at the two types of fever.

Key Takeaways

  1. Rheumatic fever results from an untreated Group A Streptococcal infection, while Scarlet fever directly stems from the bacteria.
  2. Rheumatic fever can cause severe joint pain, inflammation, and heart damage, while Scarlet fever primarily leads to a rash, fever, and sore throat.
  3. Both conditions require prompt antibiotic treatment to prevent complications, but Rheumatic fever may also necessitate anti-inflammatory medications and heart monitoring.

Rheumatic vs Scarlett Fever

The difference between Rheumatic and Scarlett fever is that the former includes systemic effects resulting into being an inflammatory disease, and the latter is caused by a red blood cell toxin known to be produced by an infectious agent. In both types of fever, the clinical symptoms appear several days after strep infection of the pharynx in both scarlet fever and rheumatic. Children are more prone to these two types of fever.

Rheumatic vs Scarlett Fever

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Rheumаtiс fever can be defined as a disease which includes inflammation due to infectious bacteria, namely streрtососсаl infeсtiоn, it is a very соmmоn fever in сhildren аnd sometimes аdults.

There аre multiоrgаn lesiоns with сliniсаlly signifiсаnt сhаnges in the CNS, jоints, аnd heаrt. This fever саn саuse dаmаge tо the heаrt which is permanent such problems could be heart failure etc.

Sоmetimes, treаtment саn helр tо reduсe the dаmаge whiсh is саused by inflаmmаtiоn аnd рrevent reсurrenсe оf rheumаtiс fever.

Sсаrlett fever оссurs when аn infeсtiоus аgent рrоduсes erythrороietiс tоxin in рeорle whо dо nоt hаve neutrаlizing аntitоxin аntibоdies.

Grоuр А streрtососсi аre the mоst соmmоn раthоgens оf Sсаrlett fever. One must note that sometimes infected people are asymptomatic аnd dо nоt аррeаr tо be ill аll the time.

Infeсted рeорle sрreаd the bасteriа by different modes such as соughing оr sneezing, which рrоduсe smаll resрirаtоry drорlets соntаining the infection causing bасteriа. 

А red rаsh usuаlly аррeаrs 1-2 dаys аfter оnset. However, the rаsh mаy аррeаr befоre оr 7 dаys аfter the fever.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison  Rheumatic Fever Scarlett Fever 
Cause  A type of inflammation disease (causing agent : group A streptococcal)It is a type of fever caused by an infectious agent in the body that produces a toxin called erythropoietic toxin.  
Complications  This fever can damage the heart muscles and can cause leak in valve during blood flow. This fever can lead to Rheumatic fever and can also cause arthritis and pneumonia.  
Symptoms Chest pain, heart murmur, red and swollen joints etc.  Red rashes, high fever, headache, nausea, flushed face etc. 
Diagnosis Jones Criteria which include fever with joint pain and increase in ECG etc. It can be easily diagnosed with the help of blood tests. 
Effects  Includes number of manifestations  There are no systemic effects.  

What is Rheumatic Fever?

In this type of fever, children who are between the ages of 5 to 15 are more prone, sometimes, it can also affect adults. This fever is still very common in several countries but seldom in several countries.

Symptoms of the fever are very fluctuating, and sometimes they might not even appear in the person suffering from the fever, these symptoms can change the progress of the fever as well.

The most common symptoms of the fever include an increase in body temperature, fatigue feeling, no control over body movements, pain in the chest, swollen and reddish joints etc.

The symptoms might take time to appear, usually after two weeks. The bacteria causing the infection contains a protein similar to that found in some of the body’s tissues.

The attacking zone of the bacteria is mostly the joints, heart, central nervous system and skin. It also leads to swelling in the tissue, which arises due to the generated immune responses in the body.

What is Scarlett Fever?

Scarlet fever is a type of fever caused by an infectious agent in the body that produces a toxin called erythropoietic toxin.

It is caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococci, and the fever is called Scarlett because a bright refractory rash that covers most of the body appears.

This rash is very itchy and red and appears in people with a fever. The bacteria that cause scarlet fever also cause pharyngitis.

Common symptoms of this fever include chills, headache, vomiting or nausea, and a rash on the body. The tongue is also strawberry-shaped with a white coating. 

Diagnosis of fever is mainly based on clinical features. Symptoms of scarlet fever include fever, headache, vomiting, skin rash, white-coated strawberry tongue, and hot flushes.

Main Difference Between Rheumatic and Scarlett Fever

  1. Rheumatic fever has systemic effects, but this is not the case with Scarlett fever.
  2. The former is a complication of Scarlett fever, whereas a particular group of strains causes the latter.
  3. For the diagnosis of Rheumatic fever, we use Jones Criteria, which includes fever with joint pain and changes in the electrocardiogram, whereas Scarlett fever can be easily diagnosed with blood tests.
  4. Rheumatic fever can lead to severe heart problems, but Scarlett fever shows mild symptoms like skin rashes and headaches.
  5. Rheumatic fever can lead to heart-related complications, whereas Scarlett fever causes arthritis and pneumonia.
Difference Between Rheumatic and Scarlett Fever
  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/541218
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17571472.2017.1365677

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