Experts warn on deadly disease more common than meningococcal

It is the disease that is as deadly and more common than meningococcal, yet few Western Australian parents have it on their radar.

Strep A is a bacteria that one in 10 Australian children have in their throat or skin, usually doing no harm at all, at any given time.

When it invades the body through the bloodstream, skin or lungs – much like meningococcal – the resulting disease spreads rapidly with detrimental effects.

Telethon Kids Institute Researcher Dr Asha Bowen said invasive streptococcus A disease was three times more common than meningococcal disease in Australia, and just as deadly.

She said most Western Australians were unaware of its existence.

“Strep A can cause myriad complications, from sore throats and skin sores to invasive strep A disease, bone and joint infection, and rheumatic heart and kidney disease,” she said.