Group A Streptococcal Infections (cont.)

How common is invasive group A streptococcal disease?

About 9,400 cases of invasive GAS disease occurred in the United States in 1999. Of these, about 300 were STSS and 600 were necrotizing fasciitis. In contrast, there are several million cases of strep throat and impetigo each year.

Why does invasive group A streptococcal disease occur?

Invasive GAS infections occur when the bacteria get past the defenses of the person who is infected. This may occur when a person has sores or other breaks in the skin that allow the bacteria to get into the tissue, or when the person's ability to fight off the infection is decreased because of chronic illness or an illness that affects the immune system. Also, some virulent strains of GAS are more likely to cause severe disease than others.

Who is most at risk of getting invasive group A streptococcal disease?

Few people who come in contact with GAS will develop invasive GAS disease. Most people will have a throat or skin infection, and some may have no symptoms at all. Although healthy people can get invasive GAS disease, people with chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and kidney dialysis, and those who use medications such as steroids have a higher risk.

What are the early signs and symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome?

Early signs and symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis;

  • Fever
  • Severe pain and swelling
  • Redness at the wound site

Early signs and symptoms of STSS;

  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • A flat red rash over large areas of the body


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