The much-feared scourge of the past, Scarlet fever is back, which recently claimed two lives in Hong Kong and sickened hundreds. In the last month, a 7 year old girl died from the illness and on Tuesday morning a 5 year old boy in the city died due to a “very likely” case of scarlet fever as per health authorities so kindergarten has been closed in the Hong Kong for a week. The epidemic sweeping through Hong Kong, Macao and parts of China might aggravate according to experts.
This year over 450 cases have been reported, which is the highest annual total in the Hong Kong and above three times the figure for the whole of 2010. Until now more than 21,000 cases have been reported this year whereas infections have tripled in Macau. Children between the ages of 3-10 are most vulnerable to the disease so Hong Kong health officials advices the public, particularly parents with small children, to stay alert among a spike of scarlet fever cases in the city.
Scarlet fever is a communicable disease spread through the saliva and nasal mucus of infected people and generally peaks in spring. A sore throat that makes swallowing painful, a “strawberry coloured” tongue, swollen glands, and less usually, vomiting or belly pain are the symptoms while the hallmark of scarlet fever is a sunburn-like rash with small red bumps which makes the skin feel rough, similar to sandpaper. It could lead to joint pain and heart damage if left untreated. The disease can be treated with antibiotics for example, penicillin. Doctors are recommending people to maintain good public hygiene like regularly washing their hands as the disease is passed through respiratory secretions.
Hong Kong in the grip of scarlet fever video from youtube: