Epidemiology and Infection

Clinical and epidemiological features of group A streptococcal bacteraemia in a region with hyperendemic superficial streptococcal infection

J. R. CARAPETIS a1, A. M. WALKER a1, M. HIBBLE a1, K. S. SRIPRAKASH a1c1 and B. J. CURRIE a1
a1 Menzies School of Health Research and Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin, Australia


Reports of increasing incidence and severity of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) infections come mainly from affluent populations where exposure to GAS is relatively infrequent. We conducted a 6-year retrospective review of GAS bacteraemia in the Northern Territory of Australia, comparing the Aboriginal population (24% of the study population), who have high rates of other streptococcal infections and sequelae, to the non-Aboriginal population. Of 72 episodes, 44 (61%) were in Aboriginal patients. All 12 cases in children were Aboriginal. Risk factors were implicated in 82% of episodes (91% in adults) and there was no significant difference in the proportion of Aboriginal compared to non-Aboriginal patients with at least one risk factor. Genetic typing of isolates revealed no dominant strains and no evidence of a clone which has been a common cause of these infections elsewhere.

(Accepted August 8 1998)

c1 Author for correspondence: Menzies School of Health Research, PO Box 41096, Casuarina NT 0811, Australia.