The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory on Thursday warning clinicians and public health authorities about a recent rise in invasive strep A infections in children.
The CDC was notified of a possible increase in infections at a hospital in Colorado in November, and possible increases in infections in other states were noted in the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s provider-based Emerging Infections Network.
The CDC says places where there have been an increase in respiratory syncytial virus, influenza viruses, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses have also seen an increase in strep A infections.
While the number of overall cases have remained low and invasive strep A infections remain rare in children, the CDC said it’s investigating the rise in cases and has issued the health advisory.
Invasive group A streptococcal bacteria “can cause a range of illnesses, from pharyngitis (i.e., strep throat) and skin and soft tissue infections to uncommon but severe diseases such as sepsis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. These severe and invasive diseases are associated with high mortality rates and require immediate treatment, including appropriate antibiotic therapy,” according to the CDC.
Who could be at risk?
Groups with the highest risk levels include:
- People aged 65 years or older
- American Indian and Alaska Native populations
- Residents of long-term care facilities
- People with medical conditions such as diabetes, malignancy, immunosuppression, chronic kidney, cardiac or respiratory disease
- People with wounds or skin disease
- People who inject drugs or who are experiencing homelessness
Recommendations from the CDC for health care providers include:
- Offering prompt influenza and varicella vaccinations to all people who are not up to date
- Educating patients on the signs and symptoms of invasive Strep A, especially those that are at an increased risk.