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NEWS | Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Health department reports Rubella and Scarlet fever outbreaks

The Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention announced it is investigating two outbreaks of infectious diseases, Rubella and Scarlet fever.
The outbreak of Rubella, commonly known as German measles, involves three persons, and which has been confirmed by laboratory tests. The three cases did not have a history of vaccination and are aged between 23 and 28 years.
The World Health Organisation advises that following any confirmed outbreak of Rubella, surveillance should be conducted to identify suspected Congenital Rubella syndrome cases in infants 0-11 months of age, until nine months after the end of the outbreak.
Rubella is often mild and attacks can last one to five days. Children recover more quickly than adults. Rubella is a common childhood infection usually with minimal systemic upset although transient arthropathy may occur in adults.
The department is enhancing the surveillance of Rubella and Congenital Rubella syndrome to identify any suspected cases and has informed all healthcare practitioners who may come across such cases of this outbreak.
The other outbreak is that of Scarlet fever affecting five children who attend a primary school in Gozo. The department, in accordance with international practices has recommended that children attending this class are excluded from school for the coming 7 to 10 days until results of the tests that are to be performed are available in order to limit the possible spread of the outbreak.
All parents of the classmates were contacted and there is no need for any other measures in the rest of the school
Scarlet fever is characterised by sore throat, fever, a ‘strawberry’ tongue, and a fine sandpaper rash over the upper body that may spread to cover almost the entire body.
In both instances, the department said it would like to reassure the general public that all the necessary measures are being taken to limit the spread of these outbreaks and that there is no need for alarm.

 


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