Background: Since the 1960s, group A streptococcus (GAS) has accounted for less than 1% of cases of community-acquired pneumonia. During the past 2 decades there has been a resurgence of invasive GAS infection, but no large study of GAS pneumonia has been performed. Methods: To determine the clinical and epidemiologic features of GAS pneumonia, we conducted prospective, population-based surveillance of all invasive GAS infection in residents of Ontario from January 1, 1992, through December 31, 1999. Results: Of 2079 cases of invasive GAS infection, 222 (11%) represented GAS pneumonia. The incidence of GAS pneumonia ranged from 0.16 per 100 000 in 1992 to 0.35 per 100 000 in 1999. Most cases were community acquired (81%). Forty-four percent of nursing home-acquired cases occurred during outbreaks. The case fatality rate was 38% for GAS pneumonia, compared with 12% for the entire cohort with invasive GAS infection and 26% for patients with necrotizing fasciitis. The presence of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (odds ratio, 19; 95% confidence interval, 8.4-42; P=.001) and increasing age (odds ratio per decade, 1.45; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-1.7; P <.001) were associated with fatal outcome. Time to death was rapid, with a median of 2 days despite antimicrobial therapy and supportive measures. Conclusions: Group A streptococcal pneumonia is a common form of invasive GAS disease but remains an uncommon cause of community-acquired pneumonia. Progression is rapid despite appropriate therapy. The incidence is similar to, and the case fatality rate higher than, that of necrotizing fasciitis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine