Press Release issued by the City of Midland
A Strep Warning
The Midland Health Department and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have informed hospitals, physicians, long-term care facilities, and others of a cluster of invasive Group A Streptococcal cases (GAS) under investigation in Midland County. Query of both the region and state do not indicate an unusual number of reported cases other than in Midland. So far, the investigation does not suggest a common link among those infected.
The Health Department recently learned of 34 cases of GAS disease reported since December 1, 2007. Investigation so far reveals that eight to ten of these reported cases qualify as "invasive." Nevertheless, four of the cases have resulted in fatalities; the remaining patients have recovered or are recovering. Texas averages approximately 263 GAS cases anually as of 2006.
Streptococcus pyogenes, the causative baterium, appears to reside in the throats and nasal passages of 15 percent of the United States population. Infections caused by a Group A Streptococcus usually take the form of "strep throat." Strep A infection is not an airborne illness; transmission occurs by contact or large droplet. Invasive Streptococcal disease rarely begins as strep throat. Instead, the bacteria enters the bloodstream and cause toxic shock syndrome, necrotizing fasciitis, organ failure, and other life-threatening conditions. Even these serious infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics if treatment begins soon enough.
Precautions for the public:
Please direction questions or case reports to Midland Health Department at (432)-681-7613, or the DSHS regional office in Midland at (432)-571-4138. For more information about the disease, visit the DSHS website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/strep/groupa/faqs/