What is infection with Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria and why should it be reported compulsorily?

National Health Ministry Number of cases of Streptococcus pyogenes updated, From December last year, invasive infections were included as a mandatory notifiable event.

This means that this bacteria should be sought out when it causes serious cases. Health workers should inform health authorities about the presence of a patient with infection with the pathogen found in the blood.

This incident became part of the mandatory notification till December 2022. There has been an increase in cases of invasive disease caused by this bacteria (also known as streptococcus Group A) in Europe generated an alert. Furthermore, the occurrence of cases in Uruguay and various jurisdictions in the country.

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The National Health Ministry has prepared an intensive surveillance protocol to detect severe cases and understand their epidemiological behavior.

Infographic: Streptococcus pyogenes
Infographic: Streptococcus pyogenes

What are the numbers?

As of November 6, 2023, a total of 487 cases of invasive infection were reported to the national health surveillance system. streptococcus pyogenes across the country, of which 78 were deceased cases.

Nearly half of the cases were linked to minors under the age of 16 (241 cases, equivalent to 49.5%), while 38.5% of the deaths were linked to minors under the age of 16, with the remaining cases distributed across all cases. age groups.

What is the reason for this increase in cases?

This can be explained mainly by two reasons, said Silvia Carrizo, head of the microbiology division at Rawson Hospital in Cordoba city.

On the one hand, there has been an increase in notification and investigation of cases that were previously treated medically without specific microbiological studies.

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“When we uncover a disease, we have more data. We can see what happens when it becomes a mandatory notification,” he indicated.

On the other hand, the increase in cases – especially in Europe – may be due to the mutation of bacteria towards more aggressive strains.

“Streptococcus is a very old bacteria. We have all at one time or another had a throat or pharynx infection caused by this infectious agent. Earlier we used to treat, now we study it more,” the expert said.

Sylvia Carrizo, chief of the microbiology division of Rawson Hospital (courtesy).
Sylvia Carrizo, chief of the microbiology division of Rawson Hospital (courtesy).

What does it consist of

Streptococcus bacteria can cause a sore throat with a sore throat and pharyngitis, which is very common in children. Of all the bacteria that cause respiratory infections, it is the most common.

He indicated, “It produces a fairly intense picture of high fever and malaise, but as it subsides quickly with ordinary penicillin, we have always treated it and not noticed it.”

streptococcus pyogenes

Now the news is that we are starting to see more cases of aggressive infections in the world. This happens when bacteria not only affect the pharynx, but can also be found in the blood. “It has caused deaths even in patients without risk factors, although special emphasis should be given to those with risk factors and those who are immunocompromised,” the expert said.

In Europe, mutations have already been detected that are making strains more virulent, so investigation is needed.

even on the skin

What are the characteristics of Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria?

Although the main route of entry is oral, it can also affect the skin, causing scarlet fever, cellulitis or impetigo.

Bacteria.  Group A Streptococcus, in an illustrative image (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases via AP).
Bacteria. Group A Streptococcus, in an illustrative image (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases via AP).

It should be noted that in October 2023, an outbreak of scarlet fever occurred in an educational institution in the province of Santa Fe, with five associated cases, none of which required hospitalization and all recovered favorably. Developed. The data was confirmed by the national health ministry.


When the bacteria invades other organs and becomes found in the blood, it is considered invasive and should be reported to health authorities.

Carrizo clarified that there may be people who have the bacteria without any symptoms.

how to save

The main route of infection is from person to person through saliva droplets. It spreads through breathing, talking, coughing or sneezing.

There is no vaccine that protects against this bacteria.

Carrizo recommended intensifying hand-washing with soap and water; Also keeping the environment clean and ventilated.

“If symptoms appear, we should try to rest and not go to the workplace to avoid workplace infection,” he stressed.

Hand washing is one of the main methods of prevention.  (pictorial image)
Hand washing is one of the main methods of prevention. (pictorial image)

Vaccination with calendar doses will avoid the risk of infection by other viruses and bacteria. This will make the body less sensitive to the presence of streptococcus. And its complexities.

Last but not least, the expert asked the population not to self-medicate. Taking the wrong antibiotics or inappropriate doses contributes to building resistance “not only to this, but to any other infection,” they concluded.

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