Infections

Expert reports about Infections


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE STREPTOCOCCUS PYOGENES DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is Streptococcus pyogenes?

Streptococcus pyogenes is a species within a category of bacteria known as group A ß-hemolytic Streptococcus (GAS). GAS can cause a variety of infections, including streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat), scarlet fever, impetigo, endometritis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (TSS), sinusitis, and necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh-eating disease”). Not only is S. pyogenes responsible for the majority of such GAS conditions, but it’s also the culprit for the notorious “childbed fever,” also called puerperal fever, that used to kill numerous women soon after giving birth in the days when so-called “natural” childbirth was the only way that women gave birth. Puerperal fever is an infection, usually around the site where the placenta detaches in the uterus due to the entry of bacteria through the site of delivery, either the birth canal or, in the case of a cesarean section through the abdomen. The incidence of this condition began to decline in the late 19th century as doctors came to understand the role of bacteria in disease and the use of sanitary procedures, and then in the mid 20th century with the advent of sulfa antibiotics, and later penicillin. Additionally, because the immune system cross-reacts between certain GAS proteins and proteins in certain body tissues, several days after a GAS infection, certain autoimmune diseases can develop, namely post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN, a kidney condition) and rheumatic fever, which leads to long-term complications, especially in the heart.


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