Hong Kong tourist suspected to have died from complications of Streptococcus pyogenes infection in Japan

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3rd April 2024 – (Tokyo) In Japan, there has been a surge in cases of Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) caused by Streptococcus pyogenes infection since the end of March. According to data from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan, there have been 378 patients diagnosed with STSS due to Streptococcus pyogenes infection in the first two months of this year, a 40% increase compared to the same period last year. It is expected that the total number of cases for this year will reach a record high.

Sources confirmed that Hong Kong citizen has died in Japan, suspected to be a result of a Streptococcus pyogenes infection. The Department of Health has responded today (3rd April), confirming that the deceased individual had contracted necrotising fasciitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. The Department of Health will be contacting the family of the deceased to gather information about their exposure history and trauma history in both Hong Kong and Japan, as well as any underlying chronic illnesses or other high-risk factors.

Streptococcus pyogenes, a Class A bacteria, can be transmitted through respiratory secretions or contact with infected droplets. Infections can lead to scarlet fever and can also result in complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, and, in rare cases, severe toxic shock syndrome (STSS). Although there is currently no vaccine against Streptococcus pyogenes, antibiotics are effective in treating infections caused by this bacterium. The Department of Health notes that necrotizing fasciitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes typically affects individuals with wounds or those suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, and sporadic cases have been reported in Hong Kong.