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Scarlet fever, a very serious disease, has increased in reported cases in recent years and is believed to originate from a key bacteria not seen for several years, according to microbiologist reports. Young children are especially at risk, and when admitted to hospital are often placed in the ICU.

Scientists who are experienced with scarlet fever, suggested such a dominant type of the bacteria may very well be the explanation for a significant rise in the number of reported incidents, growing more than 10x from 128 incidents in 2010 to 1,534 in 2011.

They explained that the increase in cases of scarlet fever reported during that period, in Hong Kong was generally triggered by group A streptococcus M1. However, the bacteria found during the most active time in 2011 and during the first months of 2012 were due to the M12 type of the bacteria. Children don’t usually have resistance to M12, increasing the probabilities of children becoming victims of this particular strain.

M1, M3 and M12 are the normal strain of the bacteria which is found throughout Hong Kong. However the extremely serious scarlet fever breakouts of prior years can be generally attributable to the M1 and M3 strains.

Two children over 10 years of age reportedly had the bacteria during the time in question, and researchers believe that indicates the M12 strain is being transferred between children, especially considering children in this age range don’t have sufficient defenses against this kind of bacteria.

A child over 10 years of age most likely is not protected from scarlet fever, so parents of infants and youngsters must remain attentive of their children’s state of health.

There have been some reports from schools where children were known to have contracted the disease, thus causing the school to close for disinfection purposes.

Symptoms of Scarlet FeverChild with Scarlet Fever on torso and arms

Children with scarlet fever symptoms may exhibit flu-like symptoms and should be admitted to the hospital as early as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Occasionally, positive results from tests indicate platelet levels that are lower than normal, and tests may show the patient’s liver and kidney are not functioning properly.

Scientists and doctors agree that it is uncommon for a child over 10 years of age to acquire the bacteria, with 90% of instances usually observed in youngsters.

Governments in Asia are busily researching this disease in hopes of quelling public concern, and plan to explore if a mutation within the bacteria may be causing it to be more infectious or deadly.

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