In March 2020, Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections fell by 80% and remained at their lowest level until March 2022 they rose to 18% a month, revealed research.
The study is being presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Copenhagen, Denmark (15-18 April) and is by Dr Robert Cohen (Association Clinique et Thrapeutique Infantile du Val-de-Marne [ACTIV]), The French Ambulatory Paediatrics Association (AFPA) Paris (France), and Clinical Research Centre, Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Crteil – Crteil (France) and colleagues.
Strep A Infections Among Children in France Across 2022: A Growing Concern
The authors analyzed non-invasive GAS infections in a network of non-emergency pediatricians between January 2018 and December 2022. Clinicians evaluating children aged 15 years old and younger for tonsillopharyngitis, perianal infections, paronychia/blistering dactylitis and scarlet fever (all can be caused by GAS) were invited to perform a rapid antigen detection test (RADT) to confirm the presence of GAS infection.
Incidence rates were modeled, considering two important timepoints: March 2020 (first national lockdown in France) and March 2022 (mask-wearing in schools no longer mandatory).
Over the study period, 125 pediatricians recorded 262,959 episodes of infectious diseases (118,035 children; median age 2.1 years). GAS-related illnesses represented 4.3% (n=11,701) of all infections. In March 2020, the incidence of GAS diseases decreased by around 80%. Between March 2020 and March 2022, the incidence remained low, with no significant trend (Figure).
After March 2022, the incidence significantly increased (by 17% per month;), with similar patterns across all GAS-related diseases, reaching levels way above those seen pre-COVID.