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expert reaction to new bacterial strain linked to scarlet fever

Research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, reports the discovery of a new strain of bacteria linked to scarlet fever.


Prof Jimmy Whitworth, Professor of International Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said:

“This important study gives us a plausible clue to the worrying recent increase in cases of scarlet fever in children in England. The investigators have found that a new virulent strain of streptococcal bacteria has emerged producing nine times the amount of toxin found in other strains.

“The researchers rightly call for more surveillance to confirm these findings, as these streptococcal infections are highly sensitive to antibiotics, unlike most other types of sore throat in children. The researchers also call for development of a vaccine, but perhaps more achievable in the short-term would be to re-evaluate and refine existing desk-top diagnostic tests which could greatly help GPs to accurately and rapidly identify streptococcal sore throats in the future.”


‘Emergence of dominant toxigenic M1T1 Streptococcus pyogenes clone during increased scarlet fever activity in England: a population-based molecular epidemiological study’ by Lynskey et al. was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases at 23:30 UK time on Tuesday 10 September. 

DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30446-3


Declared interests

Prof Jimmy Whitworth: No COIs

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