By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports, based on preliminary data, the number of iGAS cases reported in November was twice the number of cases in other months (46 cases in November to date compared to an average of 20 cases/month in 2022).

Group-A Streptococcus (GAS)/CDC

The data is based on statewide surveillance for iGAS infections defined as GAS isolated from a sterile body site (e.g., blood, CSF, pleural fluid, bone, joint, muscle), streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, or necrotizing fasciitis.

To date, cases occurring in the community are not known to be epidemiologically linked and there are no obvious geographic patterns of illness. Case increases have been observed in all age groups but the increase is notable in pediatric and elderly patients and may be related to increasing respiratory viral activity.

Group A streptococcal infections can cause a range of illness from mild or moderate (e.g., pharyngitis and skin and soft tissue infections) to severe disease (e.g., pneumonia, bacteremia, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome [STSS], and necrotizing fasciitis). These severe infections have a high case fatality rate. Individuals at higher risk for severe or invasive GAS (iGAS) disease include elderly or immunocompromised persons, persons with medical conditions including diabetes, malignancy, or chronic kidney, cardiac, or respiratory disease, those with skin disease, trauma, surgical wounds, injection drug use, or varicella infection and people experiencing homelessness.

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GAS infections can spread rapidly in congregate settings including long-term care facilities, shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness, and others. In these settings, when an iGAS case is identified, there are frequently unrecognized non-invasive GAS infections.