Protected: Group A Strep
What is Group A Streptococcus (GAS)?
GAS is a bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may carry Group A Streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness.
How does it spread?
Streptococci survive in throats and on hands for long enough to allow easy spread between people through:
- Respiratory droplets including as sneezing and coughing
- Direct skin contact.
It can also be transmitted environmentally, through:
- contact with contaminated objects, such as towels or bedding
- ingestion of food inoculated by a carrier
What kind of illnesses are caused by GAS?
It causes a diverse range of skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract infections, including:
- Strep Throat
- Scarlet fever
On rare occasions, GAS can cause other severe diseases including Invasive GAS.
What is invasive GAS disease or iGAS?
Invasive GAS disease occurs when the bacterium gets into parts of the body where it is not usually found, such as the blood, muscle, or lungs or the birth canal after childbirth. These infections are called invasive GAS. Two of the most severe, but rare, forms of invasive GAS disease are necrotising fasciitis and Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Most people who come into contact with GAS remain well and symptom-free, or develop mild throat or skin infections. These infections can be easily treated by your GP. Healthy people can get invasive GAS disease from a relative or a member of their household but it is very rare. Certain groups of people might be more at risk of contracting a more serious infection, for example, people who have recently given birth, or had surgery.
What are the symptoms of GAS?
- High Fever
- Severe muscle aches
- Redness at the site of a wound
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Sore Throat
GAS which causes Scarlet Fever may also be accompanied by a characteristic fine red rash which may feel like sandpaper. It may also be accompanied by a white coating on the tongue, swollen glands and a flushed red face.
Why is this important?
If NIAS staff are aware that the patient has a suspected or confirmed GAS this should be communicated to EAC and ED staff when transferring the patient to ensure effective patient care and management. It also ensures that staff adhere to Droplet precautions to prevent staff exposure.
Do staff need prophylaxis or follow up?
If you develop any of the symptoms of GAS contact your GP or seek medical advice. Routine prophylaxis antibiotics are not usually required.
If you have been in contact with an invasive GAS you should tell your GP if you have been in contact with someone recently diagnosed with invasive GAS disease and that you have developed some symptoms that you are worried about. It is very likely that your GP will ask you to come into the surgery so you can be examined. If you are too unwell to visit the surgery or it is closed, you should not delay in seeking medical advice.
**If you have been diagnosed as having invasive GAS you must notify Occupational Health**
Immediate Actions: Inform Station Officer / Line Manager and contact the IPC team during working hours for further advice.
- Undertake Hand Hygiene (HH) in accordance with the WHO 5 Moments for HH
- Wear gloves and aprons
- You should wear a Type II FRSM
- Eye protection should be worn if there is a risk of splashes.
- Ensure all equipment and the vehicle is thoroughly cleaned using a hypochlorite solution.