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Suspected case of scarlet fever with septic shock

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a suspected case of scarlet fever complicated with septic shock involving a 16-month-old boy.

     The boy developed fever and rash on September 10 and 12 respectively. He was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital on September 12. Low blood pressure was noted and he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit for observation.

     The child is now in a stable condition. His clinical diagnosis was scarlet fever complicated with septic shock. Results of throat swab and blood culture are pending.

     The CHP's investigation revealed that the patient has no recent travel history. His home contacts are asymptomatic. Investigation continues.

     A CHP spokesman explained that scarlet fever is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria and can be cured by appropriate antibiotics. The disease usually affects children between two to eight 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. The illness is usually clinically mild but can be complicated by shock, heart and kidney diseases.

     "Scarlet fever 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/Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:21


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