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Strep Throat and Scarlet Fever in the Child Care Setting

Strep throat is caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat is more common in children than in adults. Strep throat is easily spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes contaminated droplets into the air and another person inhales them. A person can also get infected from touching these secretions and then touching their mouth or nose.

Symptoms of strep throat infections may include severe sore throat, fever, headache, and swollen glands. If not treated, strep infections can lead to scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, skin, bloodstream, ear infections, and pneumonia. Scarlet fever is characterized by a bright red, rough textured rash that spreads all over the child's body. Rheumatic fever is a serious disease that can damage the heart valves.

If you suspect a case of strep throat in your child care facility:

  • Call the parents to pick up the child and have her or him evaluated by a health care professional.
  • Request that the parents inform you if the child is diagnosed with strep so that you can carefully observe the other children for symptoms of sore throat and fever and notify other parents to closely observe their children.
  • A child diagnosed with strep throat may return to the child care facility 24 hours after the child has been on antibiotic therapy for at least 24 hours and if he or she has had no fever for 24 hours.