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Case of severe scarlet fever investigated

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (March 14) investigating a case of severe scarlet fever involving a 17-year-old male.

     The patient, with good past health, presented with fever on March 3 and developed generalised rash, vomiting and abdominal pain the next day. He was then admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Hong Kong Baptist Hospital due to pneumonia with septic shock and renal impairment. His condition was stabilised after treatment and he was discharged yesterday.
     His sputum grew Group A Streptococcus.
     The CHP's investigation revealed that he did not have a recent travel history. His family members are asymptomatic.

     The investigation is continuing.

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

     "Scarlet fever is transmitted through either the respiratory route or direct contact with infected respiratory secretions," he said.

     People who suspect they 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 the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly; and
* maintain good ventilation.

Ends/Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:10


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