Epidemiology and Infection

Staphylococci and streptococci

Invasive group A streptococcal disease in children in Queensland

B. D. WHITEHEADa1 c1, H. V. SMITHa2 and C. NOURSEa1a3

a1 Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Mater Children's Hospital, South Brisbane, QLD, Australia

a2 Reference Section, Public Health Microbiology, Communicable Diseases, Forensic and Scientific Services, Queensland Health, QLD, Australia

a3 Paediatric Infection Management Service, Mater Children's Hospital, South Brisbane, QLD, Australia


The epidemiology and clinical features of invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) disease in Queensland children was investigated in response to anecdotal evidence of an increase in frequency and severity of this condition. A retrospective review of clinical records of all cases of iGAS disease notified to Queensland Health aged 0–18 years during a 5-year period was conducted. The annualized incidence of iGAS was 3·5/100 000 for the total population aged 0–18 and 13·2/100 000 for the Indigenous population of similar age. The annualized incidence was highest in Indigenous infants but no increase in frequency or severity of iGAS infections was observed. Findings included an increased prevalence in Indigenous children particularly in those aged <1 year, a significant male preponderance, lack of seasonal variation and an association with blunt trauma. Further studies are required to confirm and investigate these findings and to define specific risk factors in high-risk groups.

(Accepted May 21 2010)

(Online publication July 08 2010)


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr B. Whitehead, University of Queensland, Mater Health Services, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia. (Email: Benwhitehead10@yahoo.com.au)