iGas infections in Mid-Essex

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There continues to be an increase in cases of invasive Group A Streptococcal infection (iGAS) within Mid-Essex, primarily in Braintree, Chelmsford and Maldon areas, although there have been single unrelated cases reported in both Basildon and Southend.

iGAS is generally very rare with approximately 2-4 cases recorded per 100,000 population annually, however there have currently been 30 cases reported in Mid-Essex resulting in 11 deaths. Most of the cases have been in elderly patients receiving care for chronic wounds in the community.

Streptococcus pyogenes is a bacterium found in the throat and on the skin.
Some people carry this with no symptoms. It is spread through sneezing/coughing, kissing and skin contact.
Most GAS infections result in mild illness such as tonsillitis, scarlet fever or skin infections like impetigo.
On occasion these bacteria get past the body’s defences into areas where they are not usually found e.g. lungs, blood or muscles.
These infections are termed invasive Group A Streptococcal infection (iGAS) and can be severe or life-threatening.

Our Clinical Update on EAST24 describes the symptoms and the necessary steps to prevent infection.

If you have any queries about this, please contact Dave Cunningham, Head of Infection and Prevention Control


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