11/19/2012

Hong Kong, Suspected case of scarlet fever with toxic shock syndrome under investigation (November 19 2012)

[Source: Centre for Health Protection, Hong Kong PRC SAR, full text: (LINK).]

Suspected case of scarlet fever with toxic shock syndrome under investigation

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is investigating a suspected case of scarlet fever complicated with toxic shock syndrome involving a 10-year-old boy.

The boy, with good past health, developed fever on November 15 and sandpaper rash on November 18. He was admitted to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital on November 18. His condition deteriorated after admission.  He was transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital today (November 19). He is now in serious condition.

The patient's throat swab and blood sample have been taken for laboratory testing and the results are pending.  The investigation is continuing.

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

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, November 19, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:50
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