In reviewing the literature, one is led to believe that so-called "surgical" or "wound" scarlet fever was formerly a common and dreaded postoperative complication. The vast majority of these cases were questionable etiologically and were explicable by preoperative exposure to scarlatina and postoperative development of the typical disease picture, the fresh operative wound sharing in the infection. Few cases are recorded in which the infection of the wound antedated the appearance of symptoms of scarlet fever, and many of these were atypical. Hamilton,1 in reviewing the subject in 1904, concluded, "There is as yet no convincing proof in the literature that surgical scarlatina is anything more than scarlet fever in the wounded." Stickler,2 however, had attempted to produce immunity in children by intracutaneous injections of mucus, treated with phenol, from the throats of patients with mild scarlet fever. There was a sharp, local reaction and occasionally the formation
JONES TB, KOHN LA. SURGICAL SCARLET FEVER: REPORT OF A CASE. Arch Surg. 1928;16(1):139–143. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1928.01140010143008
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