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Suspected case of scarlet fever with septic shock under investigation

     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 5-year-old girl.

     The girl, with good past health, developed fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat on May 27. She was noted as having sandpaper rash today (May 30).

     She sought medical consultation at Tseung Kwan O Hospital today and was referred to United Christian Hospital for further management. She was subsequently admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit. Her current condition is critical.

     The patient's throat swab and blood sample have been taken for laboratory testing and the result is pending.

     Her elder sister and little brother had flu-like symptoms in the recent two weeks. The investigation is continuing.

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

Ends/Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:32


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