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Suspected case of scarlet fever complicated with sepsis under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (November 27) investigating a suspected case of scarlet fever complicated with sepsis involving a 2-year-old boy.

     The boy, with good past health, presented with fever, coughing and sputum on November 18 and generalised maculopapular rash over his face, thigh and limbs since November 20. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital on November 22 and was admitted to the paediatric ward on the same day.

     Upon admission, the patient was noted to have a right thumb wound with right hand cellulitis and sepsis. He is currently in stable condition.

     The laboratory test result for the patient's blood culture is pending. The patient has no recent travel history and his home contacts are asymptomatic.

     The investigation by the CHP is proceeding.

     A CHP spokesperson explained that scarlet fever is caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria and can be cured with appropriate antibiotics. It 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," the spokesperson said.

     Persons suspected to have scarlet fever should consult their doctors.

     To prevent infections, 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 like after sneezing;
* cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly; and
* maintain good ventilation.

Ends/Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:07


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