(NewsNation) — Officials warned Wednesday that cases of invasive group A strep, a potentially deadly strain of strep throat, remain elevated in some parts of the country, ABC News reported.
Multiple reports confirmed five children in Illinois died this year as a result of the strain.
Dr. Krupa Playforth, a board-certified pediatrician, said parents don’t need to panic, but it’s important to be aware. The most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the rates are anywhere from about 14,000 to 25,000 cases per year.
“That sounds like a lot, but relatively speaking, it makes it very, very rare,” Playforth said during an appearance on “NewsNation: Rush Hour.” “With that said, the infection rates are increasing both here in the U.S. and in other countries compared to pre-pandemic rates.”
In December, the CDC warned that invasive group A strep cases were on the rise.
There has been an “increase in pediatric invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections,” the CDC said in a health advisory to clinicians and public health authorities, adding that in some cases, the rise has “occurred in the setting of increased circulation of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and other respiratory viruses.”
Playforth said because of that increase, parents should remain alert.
“Because this infection progresses so rapidly, it’s really important to monitor your kids,” Playforth said. “If something seems amiss, you want to seek care quickly.”
Drug shortages are also on the rise and pose a national security threat, according to a new report from Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Shortages increased nearly 30% between 2021 and 2022.
“The ensuing COVID-19 pandemic further exposed longstanding vulnerabilities in the U.S. medical supply chain and the growing threat to the U.S. from an overreliance on China and other countries for manufacturing key drugs, medical supplies, and the raw materials needed to make these products,” the Senate report said.
Playforth said the antibiotic Amoxicillin is “the drug of choice” for the treatment of mild to moderate cases of Group A strep, though there are other antibiotics that can be used.
While data shows that there is no direct link between a shortage of Amoxicillin and the spike in invasive group A strep, it’s possible there could be a problem if shortages continue, according to Playforth.
“If these drug shortages expand to other antibiotics, then we may have problems down the line,” Playforth said.
Watch Playforth’s full interview in the video player above.