Scarlet Fever Kills 2nd Kid in HK


IF you have a child below eight years old who develops sudden fever, immediately check his tongue. If it has turned neon pink, rush him to the nearest hospital. Although there have been no reported cases in the Philippines, it could be scarlet fever. The epidemic now spreading in Hong Kong yesterday killed its second young victim.

The second fatality was a five-year-old boy who had consulted a doctor for chicken pox. He had body rashes and a tongue which was bright pink.

The Centre for Health Protection spokeswoman said the boy’s brothers, aged seven and 13, had also been tested for scarlet fever and results were still pending.

Classes have been suspended at the boy’s school, the Salvation Army Tin Ka Ping Kindergarten in Sha Tin, which has 400 children, for a week, a first for Hong Kong following a scarlet fever death, according to The Standard.

The second fatality comes after the illness, which mainly affects children aged between two and eight, claimed the life of a seven-year-old girl at St Stephen’s College in Stanley last May 29.

The Standard quoted center controller Thomas Tsang Ho-fai as saying, “We are facing an epidemic because the bacteria-causing scarlet fever is widely circulating in this region — not only in Hong Kong but neighboring places such as the mainland and Macau.”

Ho-fai was referring to Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacterium that causes scarlet fever. Symptoms include fever, body rashes and a strawberry-colored tongue and the disease usually affects children between two and eight years of age.

The number of infections in the territory has soared to nearly 500, said health authorities, adding more than 9,000 had been infected in the Chinese mainland — doubling the average figure in recent years.

(source: Journal Online)
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