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People Who Died from Scarlet Fever

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Scarlet Fever


This project is for those who have DIED from Scarlet Fever.

If they Survived Scarlet Fever, please add them to: Scarlet Fever Survivors


Also Known as: scarlatina, rossalia,


"Scarlet fever (also called scarlatina in older literature) is an infectious disease which most commonly affects children. Symptoms include sore throat, fever and a characteristic red rash. Scarlet fever is usually spread by inhalation.

Once called scarlatina, scarlet fever is an acute contagious exotoxin-mediated disease of childhood, caused by group A streptococcal bacteria. Though most commonly affects children aged between 4 to 8 years, the disease can occur in any age group.

While scarlet fever is in fact an advanced manifestation of strep throat (which by definition is the infection of the pharynx by a bacteria of the Streptococcus genre), epidemiology studies tell us that the majority of throat infections -i. e. pharyngitis- are caused by viruses. 90% of pharyngitis in adults are caused by viruses, not bacteria, and while that number can vary depending on the region, it is usually a minority of cases that are caused by bacteria. It is also true that a case of viral pharyngitis can get a secondary bacterial infection (called "superinfection" or "overinfection"), but this is not very frequent.

Once considered a serious disease with high rate of mortality and morbidity, today, scarlet fever infection is a less threatening condition as modern antibiotics play vital role to make the disease follow a benign course. If left untreated, the illness can sometimes lead to serious conditions affecting the heart and kidneys.

It is unclear when a description of this disease was first recorded. Hippocrates, writing around 400 BC, described the condition of a patient with a sore throat and skin ulcers, but it is not entirely clear from his description whether the patient had scarlet fever. In the 10th and 11th centuries, the physicians Rhazes, Ali Abbas, and Avicenna described an illness that was measles-like, but with a more vivid colour and more dangerous. Again, it is not certain that these descriptions refer to scarlet fever.

The first description of the disease in the medical literature appeared in the 1553 book De Tumoribus praeter Naturam by the Sicilian anatomist and physician Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia, where he referred to it as rossalia or rosania. It was redescribed by Johann Weyer during an epidemic in lower Germany between 1564 and 1565; he referred to it as scalatina anginosa. The first unequivocal description of scarlet fever appeared in a book by Joannes Coyttarus of Poitiers, De febre purpura epidemiale et contagiosa libri duo, which was published in 1578 in Paris. Daniel Sennert of Wittenberg described the classical 'scarlatinal desquamation' in 1572 and was also the first to describe the early arthritis, scarlatinal dropsy, and ascites associated with the disease.

In 1827, Bright was the first to recognize the involvement of the renal system in scarlet fever.

Historical data suggest at least three epidemiologic phases for scarlet fever. In the first phase, which appears to have begun in ancient times and lasted until the late eighteenth century, scarlet fever was either endemic (always present at a low level) or occurred in relatively benign outbreaks separated by long intervals. In the second phase (~1825-1885), scarlet fever suddenly began to recur in cyclic and often highly fatal urban epidemics. In the third phase (~1885 to the present), scarlet fever began to manifest as a milder disease in developed countries, with fatalities becoming quite rare by the middle of the 20th century. In both England and the United States, mortality from scarlet fever decreased beginning in the mid-1880s. By the middle of the twentieth century, the mortality rate from scarlet fever again fell to around 1%.

Scarlet fever still remains a threat today, particularly in developing countries, but nowhere today is it as severe a disease as it was during that frightening time in the middle of the nineteenth century. However, the current outbreak in China shows how quickly this situation can change, as they’ve seen a quadrupling in the number of cases in 2011 compared to previous years and several fatalities.

From: Scarlet fever epidemics of the nineteenth century: a case evolved pathogenic virulence? By: Alan C Swedlund & Alison K Donta

  • Between approximately 1820 and 1880 there was a world pandemic of scarlet fever and several severe epidemics occurred in Europ and north America.
  • 1858-59 epidemic in Massachusetts with 2089 deaths, 95% were 15y/o or younger
  • 1850-1910- 227 deaths in 4 towns; 220 were under 16 & 89 were between 1858-59 & 1867-68.

From: The 1861 scarlet fever epidemic–the worst human disaster in Fredericksburg’s history (excepting battles, of course) Posted by: The staff | October 15, 2010

  • Here is a list of known and presumed victims, gleaned from the death register, compiled by Robert Hodge, and additional sources, including cemetery records and the record of burials from St. George’s. Bear in mind that the records consistently misdate deaths that we know took place in 1861 as 1862. The fever raged here from September 1861 to February 1862.
  • Known and presumed victims :
    • Here are a few of them:
      • Wilmer Hudson, son of schoolteacher John and Pamelia R. Hudson, died September 15, 1861 [Hodge erroneously states 1862], of scarlet fever, age 8 years.
      • J.E. Edrington, son of J.M. and S.A. Edrington, died October 1861, of scarlet fever (Hodge register erroneously lists 1862), age 6 years.
      • A Hooe, daughter of Virginia Hooe, died October 1861 [Hodge erroneously says 1862] of scarlet fever, age 9 years.
      • John F. Evans, son of J.H. and H. Evans, died October 1861 [1862 erroneously reported by Hodge], 3 years, 3 months. Born Northumberland (Hodge Register)
      • Annie Scott, died January 3, 1862, daughter of John F. and Anne Scott, funeral at St. George’s January 5, 1862, age 10 years 9 months.
      • Auburn Hudson, son of John F. and R. Hudson, died November 25, 1861 of scarlet fever, age 3.
      • Emma Hudson, daughter of John and P.R. Hudson, died November 12, 1861, of scarlet fever, age 5 years.
      • George Doswell, son of J. Temple and Evelina Doswell, died November 10, 1861, funeral at St. George’s on November 11, Age 5
      • Evy Doswell, daughter of J. Temple and Evelina Doswell, died November 19, 1861, funeral at St. George’s on November 20, Age 2
      • Catherine Heller, daughter of David & Mary Heller, died of scarlet fever on December 24, 1861 [Hodge erroneously says 1862] of scarlet fever, age 7 years. Born in Philadelphia.
      • Mary Heller, daughter of David and Mary Heller, died December 24, 1861 [Hodge erroneously says 1862] of scarlet fever, age 8 years 5 months. Born in Philadelphia.

Here are some other people who Died from Scarlet Fever:

Additional Reading:

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