In recent weeks there has been an increase in cases of invasive Group A streptococcus (iGAS) in Ireland, particularly in children, which is a cause for concern.
Group A streptococcus is a common bacterium. Lots of us carry it in our throats and on our skin causing no harm. However, when the bacteria enter parts of the body where it’s not usually found, such as the lungs or bloodstream, this is called invasive Group A Strep which in rare cases can be fatal.
Seventy-three of the one hundred and seven iGAS cases in 2022 were reported since the beginning of October. Since then, there has been four deaths in children highlighting the need for increased levels of screening.
Thankfully, most Strep A infections result in milder conditions such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, scarlet fever which are unpleasant but not considered serious. In rare cases when a Strep A infection becomes invasive it can lead to necrotising fasciitis, necrotising pneumonia and Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome which are the most severe but rare forms of iGAS.
The good news is the majority of Strep A infections are treated quickly with antibiotics once detected. As screening for Group A Strep increases in Ireland it’s important hospitals have access to the most appropriate swabs available. Copan’s eSwab™ is the gold standard for liquid-based collection and transport of clinical specimens and has been recommended by Cepheid. eSwab™ is the ideal collection device for samples containing aerobes, anaerobes, fastidious bacteria, and viruses. The versatile eSwab™ is a multipurpose, open platform, collection and preservation system that can be used for traditional culture and molecular applications enabling your lab to carry out multiple tests from one patient sample.
For more information on the eSwab™ range click here or on our supplier Copan’s website click here. Alternatively, get in touch with our product specialist below.
Update on group A streptococcus (no date) News: Update on Group A streptococcus – Health Protection Surveillance Centre. Available at: https://www.hpsc.ie/news/title-22663-en.html#:~:text=Seventy%20Three%20of%20the%20107,a%20child%20aged%2010%2D18.
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