Streptococcal pharyngitis cases are rapidly increasing among children in some parts of the country, raising concerns that the infection will spread. antibiotic shortage Treating this disease can worsen as the country heads into winter.
An unprecedented number of otherwise healthy adults and children are presenting to the emergency room at Henry Ford Medical Center at Fairlane in Dearborn, Michigan with strep throat, the emergency department said. said Director Dr. Jennifer Stevenson.
“I’ve been in emergency medicine for 25 years, and I’ve never seen strep throat as often as I have in the last six to eight months,” Stevenson said.
In fact, strep throat has been the second most common diagnosis in Stevenson’s emergency department since March, after chest pain. Many of the patients were also infected with the new coronavirus.
This bacterial disease is characterized by a sore or scratchy throat and a high fever. It has been rising in recent months The same goes for parts of the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
“We’re definitely seeing a significant increase in streptococcus” that started over the summer, said Dr. Thomas Lacey, head of Nemours pediatric primary care. The Nemours system includes children’s hospitals and dozens of pediatricians in Delaware, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Why is strep throat bad now?
Stevenson and Lacey said diagnoses of invasive streptococcus A (a similar type of bacteria that also causes scarlet fever and impetigo) have increased over the past decade, but children in the hospital are now affected by the disease. This is a common form of the disease.
It’s unclear why streptococcal infections are making a strong comeback this year, even though the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted typical trends for seasonal diseases, including: RSV and influenza.
Lacey said teams in Delaware and Pennsylvania have noticed a 300% to 400% increase in strep throat cases since school started this fall compared to last year. In Florida, the number of streptococcal infections is more than double what it was at this time last year.
“Strep infections are really coming back strong,” Lacey said.
Epic Research tracks electronic health records across the country. Steady rise in strep throat, has been increasing since early August, especially among children ages 4 to 12. This includes diagnoses made in urgent care facilities, emergency departments, and pediatricians’ offices.
Fortunately, strep throat outbreaks are not everywhere. Some of the nation’s largest medical centers interviewed by NBC News, including hospitals in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Seattle, have not seen any noticeable increases.
Physicians typically don’t have to report streptococcal diagnoses to local or state health departments like they do with other illnesses such as the coronavirus or measles, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 5 million outpatient visits are made each year. It is estimated that patients will visit. Infection with non-invasive group A streptococcus.
After an unusual spike last year, current levels of strep throat appear to be returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to Epic’s data.
Dr. Victoria Valencia, interim director of Tulane University’s Student Care Health Center in New Orleans, feels that way. Valencia said her team noticed an increase in strep cases on campus shortly after this fall semester began.
“Anecdotally, we are seeing numbers similar to 2019, pre-pandemic,” Valencia said. “It doesn’t feel like it’s flooded.”
What are the symptoms of strep throat?
According to Stevenson and Valencia, most children who test positive for strep throat have the following symptoms:
Children under 12 may also have the following symptoms:
A streptococcal infection can cause lymph nodes in the intestines to become inflamed, causing pain in young children.
If the tonsils become too swollen, your child’s gag reflex may be stimulated.
lack of treatment
Strep throat is easily treated with a widely used antibiotic called amoxicillin, Stevenson said. “Patients usually feel much better within about 24 hours of starting antibiotics,” she says.
Additionally, once antibiotics are started, children become much less infectious. If strep infections are left untreated, children can continue to infect others for several weeks, usually through respiratory droplets.
However, the drug, especially the dosage form given to young children, has been in short supply for a year, the paper said. food and drug administration.
“This is a very difficult situation,” Lacey said. “Spot shortages are forcing us to rely on other antibiotics, sometimes even antibiotics we didn’t use, as first-line treatment.”
Most pharmacies in Stevenson, Michigan’s area are able to stock the drug, but “we expect more infections as we move into the cooler months, so parents are trying to get the drug for themselves.” You’re going to have a hard time finding it, kids. ”