Muscat: A large number of children in Sultanate of Oman have been reported to have contracted scarlet fever, doctors at a private hospital claimed.
Scarlet fever is an infectious disease which mostly affects children. Symptoms include sore throat, fever and a characteristic red rash and usually spreads through inhalation. There is no vaccine, but the disease is effectively treated with antibiotics.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Dr Ankit Modi, Specialist – Paediatrician, Starcare Hospital, said that scarlet fever is very common in bacterial throat infection among the children. "I am currently seeing around 40-50 cases per month," he said.
He, however, said people are educated in Muscat, and parents don't wait till the condition worsens and the affliction is treated in early stages only. "We hardly see much complication when it's recurrent infection," he said, adding that cases are more during October to March.
Terming this as a viral infection, Dr Santosh Ramaswamy, Paediatrician, Atlas Medical Hospital, Ruwi, said children develop sand paper style rashes all over the body and their tongue also becomes red during this time. "Besides that, they develop congestion of eyes," he said.
Regarding the disease's spread, Dr Ankit Modi said children with untreated acute pharyngitis spread gas by airborne salivary droplets and nasal discharge.
"It is extremely contagious and can be contracted by breathing in bacteria in airborne droplets from an infected person's cough and sneeze.
Antibiotics stop infection
"Touching the skin of a person, sharing contaminated towels, baths, clothes or bed linen. It can also be caught from carriers — people who have the bacteria in their throat or on their skin but do not show any symptoms," he explained.
The rash appears within 24–48 hours after the onset of symptoms, although it may appear with the first signs of illness.
"It often begins around the neck and spreads over the trunk and extremities. The face is usually spared, although the cheeks may be erythematous with pallor around the mouth.
After three to four days, the rash begins to fade and is followed by desquamation, first on the face, progressing downward, and often resembling that seen subsequent to mild sunburn," he said, while adding that antibiotic therapy for patients with gas pharyngitis can prevent acute rheumatic fever, shorten the clinical course of the illness, reduce transmission of the infection to others, and prevent supportive complications.
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