Invasive group A Streptococcus infection (GAS) in the United States caused 10,649-13,434 illnesses per year, and 1,136-1,607 deaths annually, during 2005-2012, according to researchers.

From January of 2005 to December of 2012, 9,557 cases and 1,117 deaths were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Active Bacterial Core surveillance. GAS incidence was highest in people aged 65 and older, at 9.4 cases per 100,000, people younger than 1 year old at 5.3 per 100,000, and blacks at 4.7 per 100,000, said Dr. George E. Nelson and his associates.

Patients with septic shock were at the highest risk of death (odds ratio, 9.11), followed by necrotizing fasciitis (OR, 5.25). By age, adults aged 75 and older were at the highest risk of death (OR, 5.41).

“Invasive GAS remains a serious infection associated with high mortality. With no new effective tools for disease prevention, rates have remained unchanged over the last 13 years. In this setting, more rapid recognition of severe GAS infections and prompt and appropriate treatments are needed. Given that the initial presentation of invasive GAS infections [is] often nonspecific and can cause severe disease and death, vaccines are sorely needed.” the researchers concluded.

They reported no conflicts.

Find the study at doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw248 .