According to the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), the number of people affected by invasive group A streptococci cases (iGAS), where streptococci spread and cause serious conditions, has increased significantly. In November 2022 there were 21 cases and in January this year 99 cases were reported in Denmark.
It is still mainly the elderly and children under 5 who are affected by the invasive cases. These can be, for example, blood poisoning, severe pneumonia with spread to the lung cavity, meningitis and joint and muscle infections.
At the moment, three to four new cases are detected every day, which is three times the normal rate. Doctors are therefore encouraged to be extra vigilant.
“It is still important for doctors to be aware that there is widespread infection with GAS, which mainly manifests itself as strep throat and scarlet fever, but which is currently also causing an increased number of cases of invasive disease”
-Department manager and department doctor Peter Henrik Andersen from SSI
However, the mortality rate for patients with invasive disease is at the same level as the period before November 2022. A few deaths have been seen among young children.
SSI continuously examines the streptococcal samples that have caused invasive disease, which are sent from all the country’s clinical microbiology departments. 35% of the total cases are due to a new subvariant that has not previously been seen in Denmark. It has been observed in all parts of the country.
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The non-invasive infections will typically manifest as throat and superficial skin infections. In some cases, GAS will give rise to more serious invasive cases, i.e. infections detected in blood or other normally sterile areas. GAS are always sensitive to regular penicillin and its lack of effect should lead to renewed medical assessment.
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