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unknown causes. Among those under 50, a third have died

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unknown causes.  Among those under 50, a third have died

Japan on High Alert as Streptococcal Infections Reach Alarming Levels

Experts Unable to Determine Cause as Cases Continue to Rise

Japan is facing a concerning surge in streptococcal infections, with experts warning that the rare and dangerous bacterial infection is on the rise. The number of cases in 2024 is projected to surpass last year’s record numbers, raising fears about the spread of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) in the country.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) has stated that there are still many unknown factors regarding the severe forms of strep, making it difficult to explain the increase in cases. In Italy, the phenomenon is predominantly affecting children, with reports of a shift from Covid swabs to strep tests in pharmacies.

According to the NIID, the group A strain of strep is causing more deaths among patients under 50, with a significant portion of those diagnosed with STSS succumbing to the infection. Most cases of STSS are attributed to streptococcus pyogenes, which can cause a range of symptoms from a sore throat to organ failure and necrosis.

The rapid increase in cases has led some experts to speculate that the lifting of Covid restrictions may have contributed to the spread of the bacteria. The Ministry of Health in Japan is advising the public to maintain basic hygiene practices to prevent streptococcal infections, which spread through droplets and physical contact.

With the number of cases already reaching 40% of last year’s total in just the first two months of 2024, the country is on high alert. Cases have been reported in nearly all prefectures, highlighting the need for increased awareness and preventive measures against streptococcal infections.

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