On December 6, 2022, the Directorate General for Health (DGS) issued an alert on the “Resurgence of invasive streptococcal A infections”. Public Health France reports this Thursday, December 22, according to figures stopped on December 11, 59 cases in children, including six deaths, since the beginning of November. In early December, three adult cases were also reported, one of whom died.
Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and New Aquitaine are particularly concerned. In Europe, several countries are reporting deaths from streptococcal A infections.
The first investigations “suggest that these cases are unrelated and that these reports are probably not due to the emergence of a strain with greater virulence but rather to an unusual increase in the number of cases, linked to different strains ». A reassuring element? For Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist at the Raymond-Poincaré hospital in Garches (Hauts-de-Seine), the answer is obviously “yes”.
strains “a little more contagious” have emerged and are transmitted with “the relaxation of barrier gestures”, explains the infectiologist. Result: a “quadruple epidemic”believes Benjamin Davido: Covid-19, influenza, bronchiolitis and streptococcus A. Even if cases of streptococcal infections remain rare.
In 2000, there were 1.2 cases of invasive strep A infections per 100,000 people. In 2019, it was 4.4 cases out of 100,000 people, said the DGS in an urgent message dated December 15 and addressed to health professionals. Since September 2022, the DGS has noted an increase in group A streptococcal infections. As a result, “Since December 15, cases must be reported”explains Benjamin Davido. “There is particular vigilance, as there was for the Monkeypox (monkey pox). This will make it possible to understand under what conditions this bacterium spreads.deciphers the infectiologist.
Symptoms resembling those of Covid-19
Another reassuring element: “It is a disease that we know well”continues Benjamin Davido.
“Streptococcus A is responsible for many mild infections (angina, impetigo) but can also be responsible for sometimes fatal invasive infections (toxic shock syndrome, necrotizing fasciitis)”explains the Institut Pasteur on its website.
“You have to worry when a child has angina that spreads out over time, that he has a fever of more than 39°C, that he has diarrhea… He is a Covid imitator so we see the importance of medical advice”, emphasizes Benjamin Davido. Vigilance also if there is a case in the entourage.
There are risk factors that can lead to a severe form. For adults: being over 65, extensive skin lesions, diabetes, cancer, immunosuppression, heart problems or even haemopathy (blood disease). For children: be under 10 years old. Note that newborns can also catch it if their mother is infected.
“It may be the flu that will save us from this affair”
The number of cases fell from 4.4 per 100,000 people in 2019 to 1.5 in 2021. A drop probably due to the barrier measures introduced against Covid-19. “If there is a resumption of barrier gestures, perhaps there will be control of this infection. That’s my hope”, explains Benjamin Davido. He hopes that the flu epidemic, in particular, will encourage the French to put on the mask. “It may be the flu that will save us from this affair”he likes to think.
The infectiologist therefore recommends “returning to good deeds”. “The first step for children is to wash their hands. It is also the ventilation of enclosed spaces »he lists.
He also suggests putting on a mask “if we are going to drag the children to go shopping”for instance. “For parents too, because streptococcal A infection exists in adults. » Like Covid-19, streptococcus A is transmitted by respiratory droplets. Wearing a mask therefore protects you and the children against the current epidemics: Covid-19, influenza, bronchiolitis and streptococcus A. This may motivate some of them a few days before the end of the year celebrations. .
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