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January 1990

Group A ß-Hemolytic Streptococcal Bacteremia and Intravenous Substance Abuse: A 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)

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