December 28, 2022

In The News: U.S. Hospitals Report Rise in Severe Strep A Infections in Kids After 15 Deaths in U.K.

NBC News reports several U.S. children’s hospitals have detected an increase in invasive strep A infections. Higher cases compared to previous years have been recorded at hospitals in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Washington. The increase appears following at least 15 deaths from invasive group A strep since September in the U.K., which has also experienced an abnormal spike in cases, as have France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Sweden, according to the WHO.

The CDC said it is hearing anecdotes from doctors and talking with hospitals and surveillance sites across multiple states to gather more information. Eleven cases in children under six have been identified in Denver, with two deaths reported. Meanwhile, Texas Children’s recorded around 60 cases in October and November, an estimated fourfold increase compared to the previous year. Phoenix Children’s Hospital has rising cases, as well, though say the number is not huge.

Invasive step A cases had decreased, in all age groups, during the pandemic’s past two years. Some speculation ties the rise to the easing of COVID-19 mitigation practices and the surge in RSV and flu. The Colorado health department, for instance, said many of their recent cases also had recent respiratory illness. But while the respiratory illnesses have posed most serious threats to young children, invasive strep A is currently hitting children of all ages.

PIDS members quoted in the story include Samuel Dominguez who said, “Oftentimes, kids who develop severe group A strep infections will start out with having a viral respiratory infection. The sooner you get someone on antibiotics appropriately, the quicker they’ll recover.” Also appearing are Wassim Ballan and Sara Vora.

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