What’s behind the recent surge in strep A and scarlet fever?
An off-season outbreak of the Strept A infection is troubling the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These infections are caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, a harmless normal flora of the skin or respiratory lining. Since Streptococcus comes in various forms and can trigger an array of symptoms from a mild sore throat to pneumonia, life-threatening blood and organ infections like necrotising fasciitis ("flesh-eating disease"), streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, or autoimmune diseases like rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis; WHO ranks this organism among the deadliest pathogens on earth.
There is a report of an increase in invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS) infections at least in five European countries that killed 13 children in England and made more ill. While CDC is closely investigating a possible increase of iGAS diseases in the US, scientists are alerted and trying to answer the questions like what is behind the recent surge in Strep A infections, how problematic is this, why are these infections occurring now, how worried should we be, etc. More than ever, there is a greater need for a proper and timely diagnosis of such infections before it takes the worst path using reliable diagnostic tests like Acutis Reveal™ RIT.