In a follow-up on the invasive disease due to Streptococcus pyogenes situation in Argentina, additional fatalities have been reported, according to the Boletín Integrado de Vigilancia from the Ministry of Health (computer translated).
As of week 37, eight deaths due to invasive infection by Streptococcus pyogenes or Group A β-hemolytic Streptococcus (GAS) have been reported.
Nationally, 23 invasive-GAS infections have been reported with Buenos Aires reporting nearly half with 11. Health officials remind that this is the time of year that there are usually more positive cases of streptococcus, the vast majority mild. However, up to now, the cases reported do not represent an epidemic or outbreak: every year cases of Streptococcus pyogenes disease occur.
Of the 23 cases, 19 are under 12 years old and 4 cases are in adults, with a higher number of cases seen in males.
The clinical presentations include pneumonia (7), fever without focus (5), septic shock (3), necrotizing fasciitis (2) and two cases of sepsis. The remaining cases have no data.
The most common disease caused by Streptococcus pyogenes is pharyngitis, or strep throat. Strep throat is very common in school-aged children, particularly in the winter and spring months. Untreated strep throat can lead to more serious complications like rheumatic fever; however, this is relatively uncommon.
It is also a cause of several skin infections such as impetigo and cellulitis. Impetigo is a characterized by a crusty lesion frequently found on the mouth area. Cellulitis typically occurs after a wound or burn where the bacteria enters and spread though the skin and lower tissues.
More serious, potentially life-threatening infections caused by Streptococcus pyogenes include necrotizing fasciitis (commonly called flesh-eating bacteria) and toxic shock syndrome. In addition, Streptococcus pyogenes can cause scarlet fever, septicemia and pneumonia. The death of Muppets creator Jim Henson was a result of an infection with Streptococcus pyogenes.
Penicillin is still the drug of choice for treating Streptococcus pyogenes infections. In cases when a person is penicillin allergic, erythromycin is an alternative treatment.
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