Rising Fatalities from Invasive Group A Strep in New Brunswick, Canada


Group A streptococcal infections outbreak nearly doubles fatalities from the previous year.

Strep A Bacteria

There have been 5 recorded deaths from invasive Group A streptococcal (strep) infections in New Brunswick, Canada so far from January 2024. New Brunswick, a province in Canada, has a current fatality rate that nearly doubled their fatality rate from 2023, when 10 out of 107 confirmed cases died, as of January 26, 2024, with 5 (18.5%.) deaths out of 27 confirmed cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the bacteria, group A strep, can cause many different infections. The best way to protect yourself from group A strep infection is to practice good hygiene, like washing your hands often.2

Prevention and Precaution

There is no vaccine for invasive Group A strep available, although vaccines are in development.

Prophylaxis is when healthcare professionals give antibiotics to someone to prevent them from getting sick. Most people exposed to someone with a group A strep infection should not receive prophylaxis. However, in some situations, healthcare professionals may recommend prophylaxis for someone exposed to an invasive group A strep infection. Invasive group A strep infections include pneumonia, necrotizing fasciitis, and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.2

Symptoms of invasive Group A strep vary depending on the type of infection. Still, they can include high fever, severe pain, swelling, redness of the affected area, dizziness, confusion, widespread red rash, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Other concerning signs include difficulty breathing, blue lips, if a person is very sleepy, or having a hard time waking up.

3 Key Takeaways

  1. In January 2024, New Brunswick, Canada saw a concerning rise in deaths due to invasive Group A streptococcal infections, with the fatality rate almost doubling compared to 2023.
  2. Invasive Group A strep is a severe condition caused by bacteria that normally result in milder illnesses like strep throat and scarlet fever.
  3. With no vaccine available for invasive Group A strep, prevention focuses on reducing the risk of infection and the severity of outcomes.

Incidence in the United States

According to the CDC, group A strep infections can occur anytime during the year. However, some infections are more common in the United States in certain seasons:

  • Strep throat and scarlet fever are more common in the winter and spring.
  • Impetigo is more common in the summer.

Anyone can get a group A strep infection, but some infections are more common in certain age groups:

  • Strep throat and scarlet fever are most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years.
  • Impetigo is most common in children between the ages of 2 and 5 years. 2

The CDC tracks invasive group A strep infections through its Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs), a population-based, active- and laboratory-based surveillance system. This means local and state health departments routinely contact laboratories to identify all cases and then report those cases to CDC. 3

The outbreak of Group A strep in New Brunswick highlights the critical need for ongoing surveillance, prompt medical care, and community education to mitigate the impact of such infections.


  1. Mackinnon B. N.B. records 5 deaths from invasive group a strep in January — already half of 2023 total. CBC News. Published January 31, 2024. Accessed January 31, 2024. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/invasive-group-a-strep-infections-deaths-new-brunswick-yves-leger-1.7099161#
  2. Surveillance for group a strep disease. CDC. Published June 27, 2022. Accessed January 31, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/surveillance.html
  3. Parkinson J. Invasive group a strep infections see a resurgence in England. ContagionLive. Published April 17, 2023. Accessed January 31, 2024. https://www.contagionlive.com/view/invasive-group-a-strep-infections-see-resurgence-in-england
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