Risk of Group A Streptococcus yet to be determined in Nepal: EDCD

Published On: June 25, 2024 02:44 PM NPT By: Pabitra Sunar

KATHMANDU, June 25: The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) has said that although there is a growing concern among the public about Group A Streptococcus disease that has been spreading in Japan for some time now, the risk of this disease in Nepal is not yet determined.

Director of EDCD, Dr Yadu Chandra Ghimire stated that although preliminary discussions have taken place regarding this matter, no information has yet been received from international bodies about the level of risk involved. He said, "We have had preliminary discussions. If any symptoms are detected, tests should be conducted for identification and caution should be exercised. However, it has not yet been determined at what level information should be issued nationally," said Director Ghimire.

According to the international agencies, 1000 people have been infected with the infection of "Group A Streptococcus" in Japan for a month and 77 people have died due to this disease.

The 'Group A Streptococcus' bacterium is considered a dangerous disease as it can be fatal within 24 to 48 hours of entering the body. Doctors have reported that the mortality rate for this disease is 30 percent. Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, chief of clinical research unit at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, stated that although the bacterium is present worldwide, including in Nepal, it may have undergone genetic changes.

Although the bacterium for this disease has existed in Nepal for some time, it may have taken a severe form due to genetic changes in Japan, according to Dr Pun. He mentioned that further information is still pending. The spread of this disease is similar to that of COVID-19, through droplets expelled when sneezing or coughing, which can enter the body through the mouth, nose, or outer layer of the skin and cause infection.

The infection destroys the patient's cells, causing symptoms such as body burning, vomiting, body aches, and respiratory problems. Because it continuously destroys body cells, it is also known as the "flesh-eating disease," according to doctors. This disease has already spread in European countries.

The bacteria can cause the organs in the body to fail, leading to unconsciousness in the patient. This condition is called Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome. Dr Pun explains that since this bacteria has already existed in Nepal and there is regular travel between Nepal and Japan, there is a possibility that individuals coming from Japan could bring this disease to Nepal.

"This spreads easily like the COVID-19 virus. Travelers from Japan could bring this disease," Dr Pun said.

According to Dr Pun, genetic testing of this bacterium can also be done in Nepal. However, given the current situation, he suggested that paying attention to personal hygiene, seeking timely treatment if any symptoms appear, and having doctors conduct suspicion tests are the only ways to avoid the risk.

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