Invasive strep in children: signs and symptoms

Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an investigation into the rise in invasive strep A infections, also known as iGAS, in children – leading to deaths in the UK and US

“While the overall number of cases remains relatively low and iGAS infections remain rare in children, the CDC is investigating these reports,” the advice reading.

Group A strep (streptococcus) is a bacteria that can cause many infections, including strep throat which affects the throat and tonsils and is common in ages 5 to 15, although adults can also be infected.

Invasive strep A occurs when the infection spreads to other parts of the body such as the bloodstream. This can cause serious problems such as cellulitisa bacterial skin infection, and toxic shock syndrome, which can cause low blood pressure and organ failure.

While experts don’t know the specific cause of the rise in invasive strep cases, Dr. Glenn Fennelly, a professor and chair of pediatrics at Texas Tech Physicians in El Paso, said. Good luck. This may be because new, more invasive strains of strep A have been introduced into some communities, and spread quickly because many pandemic safety measures have been removed.

In some cases, infections have been reported in areas with increased cases of COVID-19, RSV, and influenza, the CDC said in its health advisory.

“Infectious diseases come in waves,” Dr. David Hill, a pediatrician hospitalist for Goldsboro Pediatrics in North Carolina, said. luck. “I don’t find it particularly surprising or alarming, but it’s something parents should be aware of.”

What are the symptoms of strep throat and invasive strep A?

Strep throat has the following symptoms, according to the CDC:

  • Sore throat that can happen suddenly
  • Pain after swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck
  • Small red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils

It is not uncommon to have a runny nose, congestion, or cough when infected with strep throat. If you have a sore throat and a fever, you are more likely to have strep throat than if you have a sore throat with a cough or congestion.

These symptoms may indicate an invasive strep A infection:

  • fever
  • Behavioral changes
  • Feeling weak
  • Muscle pain and swelling
  • Vomiting
  • The presence of a rash

How is strep throat treated?

Official testing at a doctor’s office or urgent care is the best way to determine if strep treatment is needed.

Antibiotics are used to treat strep throat. If antibiotics are prescribed, Hill says it’s important to take the full course even after symptoms go away to prevent rheumatic fever, a serious consequence of untreated strep throat in children. Oral amoxicillin, the most commonly used antibiotic for strep throat, faces a shortage that is “expected to last for months,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Oral amoxicillin is a class that’s considered a first-line drug and is the most palatable — it’s well absorbed,” Fennelly said. “If that doesn’t work, doctors use oral or injectable penicillin, or an antibiotic called cephalexin.”

Strep throat can be transmitted through saliva, so experts say watch children’s habits and avoid openly sharing drinks, food or silverware, and encourage hand washing. It can also be spread through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing.

Using anecdotal evidence, many cases of invasive strep A develop after a child is infected with the flu, Fennelly said, so continuing to get vaccinated against the flu is an important step.

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