Strep Infections Surged This Winter
This past winter delivered a surge in strep infections, including more serious cases, a new analysis shows.
After two years of very low levels of strep infections during the pandemic, the number of strep infections is now almost 30% higher than the most recent peak, which was in 2017, the report found.
Still, “It is too early to definitively characterize this season since we are still in the middle of it,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN.
Epic Health Research Network, which conducted the analysis, said the spike in infections appeared to continue into early March, according to preliminary data from the electronic health records for more than 100 million people from thousands of clinics and hospitals.
Among the infections Group A Streptococcus bacteria can cause are strep throat and scarlet fever. These can typically be treated with antibiotics, but there is an ongoing shortage of the most common antibiotic for these infections, liquid amoxicillin, CNN reported.
More concerning is the invasive group A strep infection, which the CDC said it was investigating in December.
These “infections remain rare, especially in children,” the CDC added.
Strep infections are most common in children ages 5 to 15, according to the CDC. The usual strep season is December through April. The analysis found increases across ages, races, geographic regions and socioeconomic status.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on Group A strep.