By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
In a follow-up on the invasive Group A Streptococcus (iGAS) outbreak, health officials with NHS Mid Essex learned of two additional, historical cases which will remain probable and date back to the end of 2018. They were identified following a thorough review of all iGAS cases on laboratory databases, using patient data from Provide Community Interest Company, who provide the majority of our community services in mid Essex. Sadly one of these patients died in 2018.
The review was conducted by Public Health England to make sure all cases of iGAS dating back 18 months had been investigated for a potential link to the outbreak in mid Essex. The two additional patients, including the patient who sadly died, are both from mid Essex and were receiving treatment for wounds in their own home or in a care home.
Therefore the total number of people affected by the iGAS outbreak is 39, with 33 cases confirmed as part of this outbreak and six probable cases. Fifteen people have sadly died. Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have passed away.
GAS is a bacterium, full name Streptococcus pyogenes, it is sometimes found in the throat or on the skin and usually causes no symptoms.
GAS is spread by contact or by droplets from the respiratory tract, when sneezing or coughing. People may carry GAS in their throat or on their skin, which would make them a carrier, also referred to as colonized. Carriers often have no symptoms of illness.
Most GAS infections result in illnesses such as a sore throat (this can be called ’strep throat’) or a skin infection such as impetigo or scarlet fever. On rare occasions, these bacteria can cause other more severe diseases, for example blood stream infections (septicaemia).
iGAS is rare but serious. It can occur when bacteria gets into parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs. These infections are called invasive GAS. In the current outbreak patients with iGAS have suffered septicaemia (blood stream) infection.