Scarlet fever can mimic toxic shock syndrome.
We describe a patient who presented with a widespread erythematous rash, diarrhoea, confusion, pre-renal uraemia and hyponatraemia. The diagnosis of staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome seemed likely as she was menstruating and there was no evidence of pharyngitis. A rising ASO titre confirmed a streptococcal aetiology and thus 'toxic' scarlet fever. Toxic shock syndrome and toxic scarlet fever are compared.
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