CDC warns against rise of strep A in children

As doctors continue to deal with COVID-19 cases, as well as flu and RSV, there’s yet another illness circulating among children.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned parents to watch out for illness caused by the Group A streptococcus bacteria, known as strep A, The Washington Post reported.

The CDC issued a health advisory Thursday to clinicians and public health authorities saying there has been a “recent increase in pediatric invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections,” the newspaper reported.

The type of strep can cause various illnesses including pharyngitis, also known as strep throat; skin and soft tissue infections, both uncommon and severe called sepsis; streptococcal toxic shock syndrome; and necrotizing fasciitis.

However, typically a strep A infection, while highly contagious, brings flu-like symptoms and a mild but painful sore throat, The Washington Post reported.

The bacteria is also the same bacteria that causes scarlet fever. It is considered invasive when it infects areas that are normally unaffected such as the bloodstream, NBC News reported.

They are rare, but if an infection does happen, they can have a high mortality rate and require immediate treatment.

Two children in the Denver area have died since Nov. 1 attributed to strep A, NBC News reported. Twenty-one children in the United Kingdom have died, The Washington Post reported.

Streptococcal bacteria is spread by coughing, kissing and touching someone who has the bacteria. Hand washing can prevent the spread as can covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer also helps prevent the spread, the Post reported.

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