Group A Streptococcus bacteria causes scarlet fever. This strain of bacteria also commonly causes strep throat, that’s why most children who have scarlet fever also have strep throat (but not vice versa).
Because the bacteria live in the nose, throat and on the skin, too, that’s why people can serve as carriers of the bacteria. However, it usually spreads to other people by sneezing, coughing, or even talking.
You may get scarlet fever if you breathe in droplets that contain the bacteria, touch contaminated surfaces and then touch your nose or mouth, or share glass, plates, or utensils used by someone who’s infected.
Note: Anyone can get scarlet fever, but it is most common among children aged 5 to 15 years old.