A team of scientists including CMBI's Prof Shiranee Sriskandan and Dr Ho Kwong Li have discovered a new strain of group A streptococcus bacteria.
Group A streptococcus (or Strep A) is known to cause scarlet fever, throat infections and – in very rare cases – invasive disease, where the bacterium enters the bloodstream or tissue and can trigger sepsis and toxic shock.
Professor Shiranee Sriskandan, senior author from the CMBI at Imperial said: “We’ve seen an unprecedented rise in the number of cases of scarlet fever since 2014 but it was only in 2016 there was a rise in the number of serious, invasive cases due to Strep A – which are thankfully very rare- coinciding with the seasonal rise in scarlet fever. Our research, done in collaboration with Public Health England, aimed to determine if there was a link between the increase in scarlet fever and the increase in invasive infections. In undertaking this research, we identified the new strain type, linked to increases in both.”
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Department of Infectious Disease