Denmark reports ‘sharp increase’ in group A streptococci infections, including invasive cases


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Denmark The Statins Serum Institute (SSI) notes that more and more people in Denmark are currently being diagnosed with group A streptococcal infection, and the increase has now reached a level far above normal for this time of year.

Group A Streptococcus (GAS) / CDC

In addition, the number of invasive cases (iGAS) tripled in one month, which are cases in which streptococci have spread and caused serious conditions, such as septicemia. In December, 68 cases were recorded, but in November the number was 22.

SSI expects that the number of positive cases may continue to increase for some time to come. There are usually the most invasive cases in the months from January to March, but there are also signs of many positive tests in January so far,” says department head and department physician Peter Henrik Andersen from SSI.

Most severe cases are seen in the elderly over 65 years of age, but there are also fewer invasive cases detected in children under 5 years of age.

An increased number of deaths are recorded within 30 days of detection of iGAS, but they are not relatively more than normal. Abroad, there have been reports of cases among children with a fatal outcome, but the SSI found no evidence of an increase in the death rate among children.

Rising across Europe

Group A streptococci are a common cause of infection, often causing illnesses such as strep throat, otitis media, scarlet fever, and mouth ulcers. In some cases, especially in the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, the infection can spread and cause serious conditions such as septicemia, meningitis, and toxic shock syndrome.

The increase in the number of infections comes at the same time that since December there have been reports from other European countries of an increase in cases of group A streptococcus infection.

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The fact that we in Denmark – and all over Europe – are seeing such a sharp increase right now, says Peter Henrik Andersen of SSI, is probably due to the return of bacteria after remaining under covid-19 restrictions.

“Infections with this type of bacteria were at a lower level during the first long part of the corona pandemic. It seems that the increase that we also saw for some other infections after society opened up again is now also happening for group A streptococci,” he explains.

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