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Case of scarlet fever investigated

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (June 7) investigating a case of scarlet fever involving four students at a kindergarten in Tseung Kwan O.

     The four affected were two boys and two girls aged 4 to 5. They presented with fever, sore throat and skin rash since May 30. All sought medical attention. Three of them were admitted to Tseung Kwan O Hospital and have been discharged. All are now in stable condition.

     A throat swab specimen collected from one of the children yielded a positive result for Streptococcus pyogenes.

     The CHP's investigation revealed that the patients did not have recent travel history. Investigation continues.

     A CHP spokesman explained that scarlet fever is caused by Group A Streptococus bacteria and can be cured with appropriate antibiotics. This disease usually affects children between 2 to 8 years of age and presents as fever, sore throat and rash. The rash appears over the trunk and neck and spreads to the limbs, especially the armpits, elbows and groin.

     "Typically scarlet fever rash does not involve the face. It is transmitted through either the respiratory route or direct contact with infected respiratory secretions," he said.

     People who are suspected to have scarlet fever should consult their doctors.

     To prevent infection, members of the public are advised to:
* maintain good personal and environmental hygiene;
* keep hands clean and wash hands properly;
* wash hands when they are dirtied by respiratory secretions, e.g. after sneezing;
* cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly; and
* maintain good ventilation.

Ends/Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:24


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