Scarlet Fever hits Singapore as record cases are reported

Singapore media is reporting that a new outbreak of Scarlet Fever has become a cause for concern after a child has died as a result of contracting the disease. The Hong Kong Ministry of Health are said to be monitoring the occurrence closely. 40 Cases have been reported in the past two days which adds to the 419 already noted this year, pushing the total cases so far to over three times last year’s total and setting a new high for the city.

Skin rash as a result of scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is caused by bacterial infection and has certain telltale symptoms which include a sore throat, skin rashes, a fever and the most obvious and well known ‘Strawberry’ tongue. It can be transmitted by direct contact with a sufferer or by moisture from breathing and sneezing.

Strawberry tongue is not exclusive to scarlet fever

The Hong Kong Ministry of Health is advising people to take extra precautions to avoid contracting scarlet fever by washing their hands regularly, cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing and most of all to avoid crowded places where possible.
They have also warned tourists about the outbreak and urged them to follow the same advice as residents.

Strawberry tongue can also occur as a result of Kawasaki Disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome but in all cases professional advice should be sought immediately. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can also lead to a similar appearance around the tongue and lips.

'Rely' tampons were at the heart of a Toxic Shock Syndrome epidemic in 1978-1980

Kawasaki Disease is normally more prominent in children under the age of five and is an autoimmune disorder. Toxic Shock Syndrome is potentially fatal and is caused by bacterial toxins. It became prominent in 1978 when ‘Rely’, a tampon brand made by Proctor and Gamble in response to demand from women for a sanitary towel or tampon which could contain an entire menstrual flow without leaking or need of replacing was found to develop TSS in women using their brand.

Please share your thoughts on Kong Kong’s Scarlet Fever outbreak by leaving a comment.

Read about Jett Travolta who died after a siezure which was linked to Kawasaki Disease.


Kawasaki Disease: Symptoms and possible causes explained

Kawasaki disease is an illness which targets the arterial walls of major and minor blood vessels throughout the body. The origins of the disease are unknown but Tomisaku Kawasaki discovered the first case in Japan back in 1961 and published a paper with his findings on a further 50 patients in 1967.


The disease, also known as Kawasaki Syndrome, is an autoimmune condition which affects blood vessels including coronary arteries and is the biggest cause of acquired heart disease in young children.


As stated before the causes of the disease are still unknown but the first recorded cases occurred in the early 1960’s, although Kawasaki believes it first developed after World War II and has since spread across the Pacific via Hawaii where it is prevalent in the Asian community. Despite its growing presence the disease is not contagious through human to human contact.


Similar illnesses were recorded in the 19th century but not in Japan, and Kawasaki isn’t convinced those cases were the same as Kawasaki Disease. Cases began to increase throughout the 1970’s and in the pre-antibiotic era illnesses such as Scarlet Fever are now thought to have been milder strains of the disease.


[adsense]Scientists are still baffled as to the cause of the disease and as yet nothing has been scientifically proven. Theories as to its origins include bacterial developments, viral and environmental factors. One possibility that hasn’t been explored is the possibility of pollution in the oceans leading to abnormalities in fish which when consumed could lead to the disease in humans. Certainly radiation from Hiroshima or Nagasaki could have altered the genetic make-up of fish in the Japanese Pacific region and that in turn could have led to the rise of new diseases such as Kawasaki Disease.


Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease:

The disease comes in three distinct phases and it is important to recognise the symptoms within the first ten days in order to receive correct treatment and lessen the chances of lasting damage.


Phase One:

  • Fever which often exceeds 101.3 F (38.5 C) lasting up to 2 weeks
  • Conjunctivitis without discharge
  • A rash on the stomach, chest and genital areas
  • Dry, cracked lips accompanied by redness and swelling of the tongue (Strawberry tongue)
  • Swollen, red skin on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet
  • Swollen glands, mainly in the throat (lymph nodes)
  • Irritability

Phase Two:

Symptoms develop around a week into the illness

  • Peeling skin on the hands and feet
  • Aching joints
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain / cramps

Phase Three:

Symptoms from the first two phases fade away unless complications arise and the patient’s energy levels remain low for as long as eight weeks.


If the following symptoms become evident consult your doctor immediately:

  • Redness in both eyes
  • A very red, swollen tongue
  • Redness of the palms or soles
  • Skin peeling
  • A rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Please share your thoughts on Kawasaki Disease by leaving a comment.

Read about Epstein-Barr Virus; Mononucleosis (glandular fever); Throat cancer; non-Hodgkins lymphoma and Jett Travolta‘s death after seizures attributed to lymph node syndrome.