Strep Throat/Scarlet Fever

About This Disease

Strep throat and scarlet fever are diseases caused by infection with group A streptococci (GAS). When the bacteria infect the throat, the illness is called strep throat. Some strains of streptococci can also produce a poison which results in a skin rash. When this occurs, the illness is called scarlet fever.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sudden start of fever
  • Sore throat and swollen glands in neck
  • Fine reddish rash feels like sandpaper with scarlet fever
  • Symptoms usually begin 1 to 3 days after exposure


You can get strep throat/scarlet fever by close contact with persons infected with Group A strep. Occasionally, both infections are transmitted indirectly by contact with objects used by infected persons.


A physician can perform a very quick and easy throat swab or by blood test.


Strep throat and scarlet fever can be treated with medicines prescribed by your doctor. If left untreated or only partially treated (not taking all medications), strep infection may lead to serious complications such as rheumatic fever or kidney disease.

Risk in Hawaii

Group A Streptococcus is found in Hawaii and is a reportable disease.


  • Avoid close contact with infected persons
  • Avoid drinking raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from raw milk
  • Persons with respiratory illnesses or cuts and scrapes on the hands avoid preparing foods.

Information for Clinicians

Streptococcal diseases, Group A are considered Routine reporting to Hawaii Department of Health. Reporting by mail, telephone, or FAX to the Disease Outbreak and Control Division on Oahu, or to the District Health Offices on the neighbor islands.


Last reviewed May 2019