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Indian J Med Res. 2009 Dec;130(6):765-71.

Epidemiology of group A streptococcal pharyngitis & impetigo: a cross-sectional & follow up study in a rural community of northern India.

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School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh 160 012, India.



Group A streptococcus (GAS) causes a wide array of human diseases. Epidemiological picture of streptococcal infection in India is not complete. Hence, disease burden due to GAS in 5-15 yr old school children in northern India was studied and emm typing of GAS isolates was carried out to help in designing prevention strategies.


A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 4249 school children (5-15 yr) from Raipur Rani Block of Panchkula district in Haryana during 2000-2002; 334 children were followed up fortnightly for one year. Standard clinical and microbiological procedures were used for collection of swabs from throat and skin and confirmation of GAS and its emm types.


Of the 4249 children studied, 658 (15.5%) had pharyngitis; 579 of them could be swabbed, of which 2.8 per cent had GAS. From 3591 children without pharyngitis, 3385 who could be swabbed, GAS was found in 1.3 per cent of them. Impetigo was rare (0.7%), but 7.1 per cent (2/28) children had GAS. In the followup study, 17.4 per cent (776/4447 child-contacts) had pharyngitis, 761 could be swabbed and 2.4 per cent had GAS; among those without pharyngitis, 2016 swabs could be taken and GAS was found in 1.3 per cent; whereas only 2.6 per cent (2/75) of skin sores had GAS. Three children had GAS pharyngitis twice during follow up. Fourteen different GAS emm types were found. emm 71, 77 and 81 constituted 69 per cent of the pharyngeal isolates. GAS pharyngitis and impetigo were more common in winters and summers respectively.


In north India, pharyngitis was more common than impetigo. Most prevalent emm types of GAS in this region differ from those included in M protein-based vaccines.

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