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Severe case of scarlet fever investigated

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (June 13) investigating a severe case of scarlet fever involving a 6-year-old boy.

     The boy presented with a sore throat and skin rash since June 1, and fever since June 7. He was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital on June 11. He developed septicemia and was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit the next day. He is now in stable condition.

     Laboratory test on the patient's blood specimen yielded positive result for Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A).

     The CHP's investigation revealed that the boy did not have recent travel history. His home and school contacts were asymptomatic. Investigation continues.

     A CHP spokesman explained that scarlet fever is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria. It can be cured by appropriate antibiotics. This disease usually affects children between 2 and 8 years of age. It presents as fever, sore throat and rash. The rash appears over the trunk, 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 the respiratory route or direct contact with infected respiratory secretions," he said.

     People suspect they may 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;
* maintain good ventilation.

Ends/Monday, June 13, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:20


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