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2 pediatric deaths from severe strep since November; hospitalizations rise

Two children have died in Colorado from severe group A strep infections since November. Eleven other children have been sick with "invasive" strep.

DENVER — Two children have died from severe strep infections and 11 other children have been sick with invasive strep infections since November, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said. 

State health officials said pediatric hospitalizations from the infections are rising. 

These aren't typical sore throats. These are group A strep infections that are much more severe and can be complications of other viral respiratory illnesses like RSV, flu or COVID-19. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said both deaths were children from the Denver metro area, where group A strep is required to be reported to the health department. 

Usually, CDPHE said, they only see one or two cases of group A strep a month, so they are monitoring the situation closely. The last death of a child with severe strep was in 2018. 

Children's Hospital Colorado said they're seeing more kids aged 10 months to six years old hospitalized with severe infections.

Many of the children with the infections also had COVID-19, flu or RSV recently.

Symptoms of group A strep include sore throat, fever, chills, new rashes, skin bumps or red patches of skin that can be painful. 

Rare group A infections can be severe and cause diseases like pneumonia, sepsis and toxic shock syndrome and can damage the skin. 

Health leaders said early treatment can help keep cases stay mild instead of progressing to more serious illnesses. 

There are steps to take to help protect children from infections – stay up-to-date on COVID-19, flu and chickenpox vaccinations, keep sick kids at home, practice good hand washing and avoid touching their faces. 


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