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January 1990

Group A ß-Hemolytic Streptococcal Bacteremia and Intravenous Substance AbuseA Growing Clinical Problem?

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Dr Lentnek), Microbiology (Dr Giger), and Epidemiology (Ms O'Rourke), Episcopal Hospital, Philadelphia, Pa.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(1):89-93. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390130093013

• Over an 18-month period, the incidence of group A β-hemolytic streptococcal bacteremia rose from an average of 2.5 per 10 000 patient discharges to 17.9. A retrospective analysis was performed comparing patients with group A β-hemolytic streptococcal bacteremia during this 18-month period with those who presented over the preceding 36 months. Most of the increased incidence was attributable to individuals hospitalized with a diagnosis of drug addiction who had concomitant soft-tissue infection, although the absolute number of hospitalized drug addicts did not change during this interval. No common or distinctive group A streptococcal serotypic patterns were discovered. This experience suggests that group A β-hemolytic streptococcal bacteremia and soft-tissue infection may present in epidemic fashion among parenteral drug addicts in the absence of a common source.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:89-93)