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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hong Kong : Alert over high level of scarlet fever cases

Another alert from Center for Health Protection in Hong Kong :

" The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (June 20) urged members of the public to maintain vigilance against scarlet fever as the number of reported cases remains at a high level.

A spokesman for the CHP said that the number of scarlet fever cases reported to the CHP up to June 17 this year reached 419, which exceeded figures for the annual number of cases recorded in the past 10 years. The number of reports has surged since April, with 75 cases recorded in April, 100 cases in May and 142 cases (up to June 17) in June.

Among the 419 cases, the patients were aged between 1 month and 37 years old. Ninety-three per cent of cases were children under 10 years old. Most cases were mild and their characteristics were similar to cases reported in previous years.

So far, there have been six institutional outbreaks in 2011, involving three kindergartens/child care centres, two primary schools and one residential special child care centre. A total of 22 persons were affected, with two to seven cases involved in each outbreak. Another 11 small clusters occurred in household settings, affecting two to three persons in each cluster.

The spokesman said, "The CHP is attentive to the high level of scarlet fever activity this year and is closely monitoring the situation. A simultaneous increase of scarlet fever cases is also noted in the Mainland and Macao, suggesting a regional phenomenon at play."

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