Here’s what you need to know.
Several children’s hospitals have detected an increase in invasive group A strep infections, prompting the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue an official warning.
Group A strep is a type of bacteria that can cause a range of illnesses, from strep throat and scarlet fever to skin infections. One invasive Strep A refers to when the bacteria spreads to parts of the body it doesn’t normally reach, such as the bloodstream.
According to the CDC warning, this can cause serious illness, even death, and requires immediate treatment with antibiotics.
As of this writing, at least two children in the US and 21 in the UK have died from the infection, per TODAY.
The UK Health Security Agency said in an advisory last week that cases are trending up sharply in the new year but appear to have increased earlier than expected, an unfortunate reality that has also been experienced this year with increasing cases of RSV and influenza.
Children’s hospitals in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Washington apparently reported higher than average case counts this season compared to previous years.
“While the total number of cases has remained relatively low and (invasive group A strep) infections remain rare in children, the CDC is investigating these reports,” the agency said.
He also added that in some parts of the country, the increase in Strep A is occurring alongside “increased circulation” of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
Non-invasive Strep A diseases, according to the CDC, include strep throat, scarlet fever, and impetigo, while much more serious conditions resulting from invasive Strep A infection include cellulitis with blood infection, pneumonia, necrotizing fasciitis (popularly known as flesh-eating disease) and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), “which can progress very quickly to low blood pressure, multiple organ failure and even death”, according to the official communication.
Strep A is transmitted by contact with droplets from an infected person when they cough, sneeze or talk. Group A strep cases tend to follow a seasonal pattern, peaking between December and April in the United States. It is most common in children 5 to 15 years old.
Signs of a group A strep infection, according to the Colorado Department of Health, include:
Signs that a child’s strep A infection may be invasive include:
A change in mental state. “Perhaps you are not able to wake the child, or the child is not responding normally,” said Dr Ethan Wiener, chief of emergency medicine at Children’s Hospital. NYU Langone Health Hassenfeld. “It’s different from the kid feeling jaded or lying on the couch all day.
Early signs of necrotizing fasciitis, which the CDC says include: a rapidly spreading area of red, warm, or swollen skin; severe pain, including pain beyond the area of skin that is red, hot, or swollen; fever. Later stage signs include: ulcers, blisters or black spots on the skin; changes in skin color; pus or oozing from the infected area; dizziness; fatigue; diarrhea or nausea.
Early signs of strep toxic shock syndrome, which the CDC says include: fever and chills, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. Later signs, which usually develop 24 to 48 hours after the first symptoms, include: low blood pressure; heart rate faster than normal; rapid breathing; signs of organ failure, such as inability to produce urine or yellowing of the eyes.
High fever and labored breathing, along with “difficulty coordinating swallowing with breathing” in young children, “should prompt parents to call their caregiver or seek emergency care, depending on the severity.” of the situation,” said specialist Dr Ishminder Kaur. in pediatric infectious diseases at UCLA, David Geffen School of Medicine, told TODAY.
In addition to getting the chicken pox vaccine and getting the flu shot, to prevent Strep A infections, the CDC recommends washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer at alcohol base, especially after coughing or sneezing and before preparing food or eating. You should also cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue and throw it away immediately, or use the top of your sleeve or your elbow as a last resort, never your hands, to help prevent the spread of germs.
However, as always, if in doubt about your child’s condition, consult a professional doctor.
For more detailed information, visit the CDC website.
#CDC #warns #parents #invasive #disease #affecting #children