CDC warns parents about ‘invasive’ diseases affecting childrenThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
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Several children’s hospitals have found an increase in invasive group A strep infections, prompting the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue an official warning.
Group A streptococci are a type of bacteria that can cause a range of illnesses, from strep throat and scarlet fever to skin infections. Ann invasive A case of Strep A occurs when the bacteria spreads to parts of the body it normally doesn’t reach, such as the bloodstream.
According to the CDC warningthis can cause severe and even fatal illness and requires immediate treatment with antibiotics.
UK Health Security Agency said in a council last week that cases tend to rise sharply in new Year but they seem to have risen earlier than expected, an unfortunate reality that was also experienced this year with the rise of RSV and flu cases.
Children’s hospitals in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Washington are apparently reporting a higher-than-average number of cases this season compared to years past.
“Although the total number of cases remains relatively low and (invasive group A strep) remains rare in children, CDC is investigating these reports,” the agency said.
It also added that in some parts of the country the increase in Strep A has been seen at the same time as “increased circulation” of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.
Noninvasive strep A diseases, according to the CDC, include strep throat, scarlet fever, and impetigo, while much more serious conditions that result from invasive strep 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 announcement.
Strep A is spread through contact with droplets from an infected person when they cough, sneeze or talk. Group A strep cases tend to follow a seasonal pattern, peaking in between December and April in the US It is most common in children ages 5 to 15.
Signs of a group A strep infection, according to the Colorado Department of Health, include:
Signs that a strep A infection in a child may be invasive include:
Change in mental status. “You may not be able to wake the child, or the child may not respond normally,” Dr. Ethan Wiener, chief of emergency medicine at NYU Langone Health Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, told the news outlet. “It’s different than a child feeling blah or lying on the couch all day.”
Early signs of necrotizing fasciitis, which the CDC says include: a red, warm, or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly; severe pain, including pain outside the area of skin that is red, warm, or swollen; a fever Later signs include: sores, blisters or black spots on the skin; changes in skin color; pus or discharge from the infected area; vertigo; tiredness; diarrhea or nausea.
Early signs of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, which according to the CDC 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; faster than normal heart rate; rapid breathing; signs of organ failure, such as inability to pass urine or yellowing of the eyes.
High fever and difficulty breathing, as well as “difficulty coordinating swallowing with breathing” in young children, “should prompt parents to call their provider or seek emergency care, depending on the severity of the situation,” Dr. Ishminder Kaur , a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UCLA, said the David Geffen School of Medicine TODAY.
In addition to receiving the varicella vaccine and flu injections, to prevent strep A infections, the CDC recommends washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after coughing or sneezing and before preparing food or eating. You should also cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw it away immediately, or use your upper sleeve or elbow as a last resort – never your hands – to prevent the spread of germs.
However, as always, when in doubt about your child’s condition, seek professional medical attention.
For more in-depth information, visit the CDC website.
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