A recent outbreak in strep throat cases has spread across the East Valley.
Jessica Rigler, branch chief for public health preparedness at the Arizona Department of Health Services, said, “This is about double of what we usually see.”
DHS only tracks Streptococcus Group A, which is a bacterium that makes its way into normally sterile places, such as the blood, muscles or lungs. Streptococcus Group A is also responsible for causing strep throat.
“These are people who are having sepsis, or significant lung infections or something else that’s really out of the ordinary,” Rigler said, “It’s not your general strep throat where you go to the doctor, get your throat swabbed, get your antibiotics and go home. These are your people that are developing pretty significant signs of illness that are seeking health care and are most likely hospitalized.”
According to the 2016 reports, 188 invasive strep group A cases were recorded for January through April 30. This year, 200 cases have been seen in the same time frame.
“Our five-year median for January to April is 102 cases,” Rigler said. The number of cases for this year has already doubled that.
Maricopa County has made up the majority of the cases, which is expected being the largest and most-populated county in the state, with 129 cases, according to Rigler.
Pima County falls second with just under 60 cases.
Those most likely to be affected by strep group A are those with weakened immune systems, Rigler said.
“We’re typically seeing much higher rates or case numbers in older adults….
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