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Case of scarlet fever with toxic shock syndrome under investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a confirmed case of scarlet fever complicated with toxic shock syndrome involving a 5-year-old boy.

     The boy, with good past health, developed fever on May 22 and sandpaper rash on May 24. He was admitted to the paediatric ward at United Christian Hospital on May 25. His condition deteriorated after admission. The diagnosis was scarlet fever complicated by toxic shock syndrome. He was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit on the same day.

     On May 26, the boy was transferred to Queen Mary Hospital for further treatment.  He is now in critical condition.

     The patient's throat swab and blood culture grew Group A Streptococcus pyogenes.

     The CHP's investigation has 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 2 and 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, 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/Monday, May 28, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:53


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