Update News: Children’s hospitals in the United States are seeing an increase in severe strep infections
Children’s hospitals and health agencies in the United States are keeping an eye out for an increase in cases of invasive group A strep infections in children, which can cause severe illness and even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a dangerous but rare disease that kills between 1,500 and 2,300 people in the United States each year. According to the agency, between 14,000 and 25,000 cases occur each year. According to the CDC, there has been a lull in cases during the pandemic.
Hospitals in Colorado, Texas, and Arizona are reporting an increase in cases of invasive group A strep (iGAS) in children. According to state health officials, two children in the Denver area have died as a result of the infection.
Infections occur when strep is present. A bacteria that causes mild infections such as a sore throat spreads to other parts of the body such as the bloodstream or spinal fluid. This can result in skin infections, pneumonia, or toxic shock syndrome.
Since early fall, more than a dozen children in the United Kingdom have died from invasive group A strep infections. According to the World Health Organization, unusual increases in cases have been reported in France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Ireland.
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The CDC stated that it is investigating reports of an increase in infections in the United States.
“It is possible that there will be an increase in iGAS infections this year,” the CDC said in a statement.
The rise of invasive strep According to Wassim Ballan, division chief of infectious diseases at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, A infections could be linked to the ongoing surge in respiratory viruses. Some people have strep throat. Bacteria in their throat without infecting them. However, if they are infected with a virus, bacteria can enter through the mucous membranes in the nose and throat.
“That can result in the type of severe disease we call invasive group A strep infection,” Ballan explained.
MORE: A two-year-old boy hospitalized with RSV spent eight days on a ventilator.
What exactly is invasive group A strep?
Group A strep is usually not a major cause for concern. It’s a bacteria that can make adults and children sick, but the illnesses are usually minor. Each year, the CDC estimates that several million cases of non-invasive group A strep infections occur.
Infections such as strep throat, which causes a sore throat, fever, and painful swallowing, and scarlet fever, which causes a red, sandpaper-like rash, are examples of these cases. Both are treatable with antibiotics.
In rare cases, strep A can spread to areas of the body where bacteria normally do not exist, such as the blood, spinal fluid, and joint fluid. This results in more severe invasive group A strep infections.
Individuals from the invasive group A strep infection can cause skin infections, blood infections, toxic shock syndrome, and pneumonia. In most cases, the condition is treated in the hospital with IV antibiotics.