Severe Group A Streptococcal Soft-Tissue Infections in Ontario: 1992–1996
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A prospective, population-based, surveillance study of invasive soft-tissue infections due to group A streptococci was conducted in Ontario, Canada, from 1992 through 1996. Demographic and clinical information was obtained by patient interview and chart review. Isolates were characterized by M protein and T agglutination typing. The incidence of necrotizing fasciitis (NF) increased from 0.08 cases per 100,000 population in 1992 to 0.49 cases per 100,000 population in 1995. The case-fatality rate was 13% (68 of 520 patients died). Hypotension and multiorgan dysfunction complicated 64 cases (12%), and NF complicated 119 cases (23%). Underlying diabetes, alcohol abuse, cancer, and cardiac and pulmonary disease increased the risk of disease. Prior use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents did not influence disease severity. All 197 patients without NF, underlying illness, and hypotension at presentation survived, as did 95 (99%) of 96 normotensive patients who were <65 years old but who had underlying chronic illness. Previously healthy patients without hypotension or NF may be considered for outpatient treatment.
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