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Scarler Fever in China (Mainland)

18 July 2011

A large outbreak of scarlet fever has been ongoing since the beginning of the year (2011) in mainland China. The total number of cases recorded on the National Notifiable Infectious Diseases table stands at 30 999 cases year to date. Scarlet fever cases reported in June 2011: 9773, May 2011: 9308, April 2011: 5023, March 2011: 2795, February 2011: 1000, January 2011: 3100.

Advice for Travellers

Scarlet fever is caused by Streptococcal bacteria, usually Streptococcus pyogenes. It is mainly a disease of children (peak age 2-10 years) and the risk of infection is increased in nurseries, schools and in crowded conditions. It is spread primarily by droplets resulting from coughing and sneezing but the infection can also be acquired by direct contact with secretions, including by sharing food utensils. Transmission can be reduced by frequent hand washing, avoiding sharing food utensils and using disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing.