The Washington Post: First came a viral storm. Now, we have puzzling superinfections.
By Ariana Eunjung Cha
The seven kids with oddball symptoms arrived at Children’s Mercy Kansas City Hospital in Missouri in quick succession this past month. One complained of an eye that was “stuck.” Another had a lump behind one ear. A third had trouble swallowing, and then began drooling.
There was no reason to think these and four other cases, all in children younger than 10, might be related, recalled Angela Myers, the director of infectious diseases. But when the lab tests came back, they all pointed to the same culprit.
It was a potentially lethal form of strep A.
“We were very surprised,” Myers said. “We just don’t see this many together in such a short time.”
Infection with Streptococcus pyogenes — or group A strep, for short — typically produces mild symptoms, such as rash, fever or swollen tonsils leading to the eponymous strep throat. But in recent months, cases related to a rare invasive form of the common bacteria have been popping up across the United States, as well as Europe, often in connection with sometimes confusing symptoms, including skin rashes, fever, a racing heart and unexplained swelling.
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