The spread of a rare infection with 30% deaths worries Japan

The spread of a rare infection with 30% deaths worries Japan

Caused by bacteria, a rare infection has spread in recent months in Japan. The country’s health authorities are worried, as its mortality rate is around 30%. Insights from Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens.

The number of invasive infections with Streptococcus A (or Streptococcus pyogenes), a pathogenic bacteria, continues to increase in Japan. According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), the presence of virulent strains of the streptococcus bacteria has been confirmed in the country. Twenty-seven of the forty-seven departments of the archipelago are also on red alert.

Contaminations expected to explode in 2024

The country has been facing streptococcal A for several months. Last year, 941 cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome were recorded. And the number of cases this year is expected to be even higher. Indeed, in two months, the country already has 378 cases.

According to information provided by the NIID, 65 people under the age of 50 were affected and 21 died from their infection. This would also affect people in this age group more, again according to the NIID.

What are the symptoms of this infection?

Streptococcus A is a bacteria that can be present in some people without making them sick. On the other hand, in certain cases, it will induce an infection of the subcutaneous tissues and induce necrotizing fasciitis, which destroys the fascia, the envelope which covers the muscles.

Questioned, Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens, describes an infection which also presents “often a gynecological starting point, before giving a sepsis. This is why the doctor recommends that patients consult a doctor quickly in the event of a fever, with an infection whose starting point is gynecological, associated with redness on the skin.

Administer one or more antibiotics as quickly as possible

From that moment on, one or more antibiotics are administered as quickly as possible, during what we call the ‘golden hours’, that is to say the first hours, the more crucial, before the infection gets out of control” describes the doctor again.

A vital emergency, because in the most serious cases, patients are quickly faced with organ failure, particularly of the kidneys, with potential necrosis, followed by death if nothing is done to treat them. “A third of people who develop the disease can die within forty-eight hours.” explains Ken Kikuchi, specialist in infectious diseases at Tokyo Women’s Medical University, interviewed by the Guardian.

Japanese Health Minister asks people to take precautions

Faced with this situation, Japanese Health Minister Keizo Takemi asked residents to take precautions. As during the Covid-19 pandemic, people are encouraged to wash their hands regularly. However, “this type of infection has nothing to do with the Covid-19” wants to reassure Gérald Kierzek.”The Sars-Cov-2 is a virus, we are here faced with a bacteria, whose modes of transmission are different“.

Before recalling that “notre immune system has been weakened by the various measures taken during the pandemic and that it now reacts less well to this type of bacteria“. An observation shared by Ken Kikuchi, who says he is “concerned” by the situation. He believes that “the immunological status of people after recovering from Covid-19 could modify their sensitivity to certain microorganisms”, which could explain this explosion of streptococcal A infections in the country. To be continued.