Invasive cases of Group A strep soar to record levels


We’ve had this conversation before but it’s interesting in light of these new numbers I think it Bears diving into this issue again Lauren was mentioning strep a that’s common infection isn’t it just help us understand basically what we’re dealing with yeah it’s an unusual type of bacteria bacteria and that it

Can do a lot of different things so a lot of people are familiar with strep throat okay so it’s a bacterial infection of the throat causes what we call fitis or that throat pain that throat inflammation uh sometimes that can spread to the tonsils cause a tonsilitis if it’s very aggressive it

Can even spread cause an ear infection cause an abscess but typically it’s just a throat infection uh sometimes that’s associated with a rash the sort of fine red bumps called a sandpaper rash in that case we call it scarlet fever right um but it can it can trigger the immune

System in unusual ways so this bacterial infection uh can cause an immune reaction which causes antibodies which can actually attack Parts normal parts of the body like the heart valves that’s that’s called rheumatic fever it can attack the kidneys that’s called glara nefritis so strep has some unusual manifestations so in this particular

Case then what causes it to become or how does it become aggressive and then invasive right so and get into the body and and it’s a different animal and it as you say it’s if it’s invasive invasive group a strep or what’s called ey gas it’s usually different subtypes

Of the strep and that’s when it gets into parts of the body where it shouldn’t be like the lungs and cause pneumonia like the bloodstream where it can cause shock and organ failure uh or the skin and muscles deep muscle tissues where it can cause this necrotizing fasciitis or what people call fleshing

Disease disease um and so it’s for reasons that are unclear and it doesn’t happen in in everybody but certain sub types of strep can be very aggressive and cause these types of infection so it has this whole spectrum of the types of diseases it causes so not exactly clear

How it even does this but is there any obvious explanation for why the number numbers are so concerningly On The Rise yeah it’s a great question because it’s it was happening before the pandemic you know for over a decade we’ve seen an increase in these invasive types of

Strep infections unclear why that is uh we know that they’re more common in very young children under one or people over 50 and people with underlying chronic diseases so we there are more and more people surviving longer with chronic diseases often diseases that weaken their immune system that may be part of

It um we also know that strep is opportunistic it tends to cause infection when the tissues and the body is already weakened and so it often will follow a viral infection and so we certainly saw a lot of viral infections during the pandemic uh and now I me

We’re talking about the tripic of RSV and flu and covid so it follows those primary infections and can take advantage so if those numbers are going up perhaps there’s some connection to the increase in in this invasive form of strep a what was interesting in Lauren’s piece and interesting and devastating to

Hear is the mother saying just how quickly this took effect and for parents there might be some confusion because the symptoms sort of overlap with more common things what do parents need to watch out for first yeah you know the invasive forms are rare but as you heard

Devastating in that it it causes this immune response you know that the bacteria in this case it must have been a toxic shock syndrome as we call it where the bacteria gets into the bloodstream it releases toxins the immune system responds to those toxins and that causes kind of a storm where

The blood pressure drops and the organs start to fail and that can progress very quickly and similarly if it gets into the muscles that can progress very quickly and you’ve heard that you know despite antibiotics it often the only way to treat it is to cause is to

Actually amputate to remove the tissue which sounds very barbaric um so it depends where where it is if it’s in the lungs you’re going to have more of those pneumonia type symptoms if it’s in the muscle and deep tissues it’s going to be pain redness inflammation in that area

If it’s a toxic shock syndrome it’s high fevers and symptoms of low blood pressure so confusion lie headedness and then of course if it’s in the throat it’s basically a strep throat it’s that throat pain with swallowing that tonsil pain sometimes if you if you look at the

Tonsils you can actually see a little bit of pus on the tonsils that’s a clue um along with the fever and plus or minus that Scarlet rash which is quite Telltale for this so I I guess I mean initially with a strep throat infection you might as a parent deal with it

Yourself for just you know how you would normally treat that but what would trigger something that you would you know really spring into action quickly go to get medical attention yeah so I think a couple of things one is even for the strep throat you you want to see a

Doctor get a strep test we have rapid strep tests and get antibiotics for that and so the first thing is how do you distinguish because it’s so common right now especially for people to just have a viral infection a viral throat infection and so one of the things about viruses

Is they tend to cause more diffuse symptoms so Eyes Nose Throat you’re horse you’re coughing whereas bacteria tend to be more focused and so it’s it’s going to be more focused on the throat so if you have you know those more local symptoms of just the throat along with

The fever that’s more likely strep throat the warning signs are when you’re getting into severe pain high fevers persistent fevers and particularly that Li headedness or confusion that’s when you really need to seek attention and then don’t hesitate get right in there okay Dr Gupta thanks very much

Canada is seeing a record number of cases of invasive Group A strep, a bacterial infection that kills roughly one in 10 people who contract it. Respiralogist Dr. Samir Gupta says strep bacteria can cause a wide variety of symptoms, from mild strep throat to necrotizing fasciitis.

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