Invasive group A strep cases up in Denver, CDC issues health advisory


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Colorado health officials recently reported an increase in children’s hospital admissions due to group A streptococcus.

Group A Streptococcus (GAS) / CDC

There have been 11 reported cases of invasive group A strep in children since November 1, 2022, in the Denver metro area.

Recent cases range in age from 10 months to 6 years, but anyone of any age can become infected with group A streptococcus. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is aware of two of these deaths. Both of them were young children who had not yet reached school age. No official cause of death was determined by the coroner or medical examiner. The last reported death was in a pediatric patient with group A streptococcus in Colorado in 2018.

“While still rare, CDPHE is seeing invasive group A strep infections in Colorado causing severe disease,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, CDPHE. There is no vaccine for group A streptococcus, but staying up to date with the COVID-19, flu and chickenpox vaccines can help protect your child from developing complications from group A infections. Stay home when you are sick and practice good hand hygiene – wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 days At least a second or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and avoid touching your face. Call your child’s doctor if they have new or worsening symptoms.”

This prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to release a dossier Health Alert Network (HAN) health advisory To notify clinicians and public health authorities of the recent increase in pediatric invasive group A streptococcal infections (iGAS).

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Strep throat is usually caused by group A strep, which is a mild and common condition that is easily treated. Whereas, invasive group A strep infections are rare and cause diseases such as pneumonia, sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, and a serious skin and tissue infection called necrotizing fasciitis. An invasive infection occurs when bacteria such as group A strep travel beyond the throat or skin, where they are likely to cause a mild infection, and enter the bloodstream, lungs, fluids in the spinal cord, or other places within the body where they would not normally live.

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