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Severe Strep Infections

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Some types of group A strep bacteria cause severe infections, such as:

  • Bacteremia (bloodstream infections)
  • Toxic shock syndrome (multi-organ infection)
  • Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease)

In 2006, 4,587 cases of severe group A streptococcal disease were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those at the greatest risk of getting a severe strep infection are:

  • Children with chickenpox
  • People with suppressed immune systems
  • Burn victims
  • Elderly people with cellulitis, diabetes, blood vessel disease, or cancer
  • People taking steroid treatments or chemotherapy
  • Intravenous drug users

Severe group A strep disease may also occur in healthy people who have no known risk factors.

Understanding Severe Strep Infections

Last Updated March 04, 2009

Last Reviewed March 04, 2009