Reports of increasing incidence and severity of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) infections come mainly from affluent populations where exposure to GAS is relatively infrequent. We conducted a 6-year retrospective review of GAS bacteraemia in the Northern Territory of Australia, comparing the Aboriginal population (24% of the study population), who have high rates of other streptococcal infections and sequelae, to the non-Aboriginal population. Of 72 episodes, 44 (61%) were in Aboriginal patients. All 12 cases in children were Aboriginal. Risk factors were implicated in 82% of episodes (91% in adults) and there was no significant difference in the proportion of Aboriginal compared to non-Aboriginal patients with at least one risk factor. Genetic typing of isolates revealed no dominant strains and no evidence of a clone which has been a common cause of these infections elsewhere.
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