The Laboratory of Medical Microbiology has published a new study in Eurosurveillance on upsurges in invasive group A Streptococcus (iGAS). The paper presents the epidemiology, genetic characteristics and associated lineages of emm1 S. pyogenes causing iGAS infections in Belgium. The increase in emm1 iGAS observed during mid-2022 until August 2023 in Belgium was primarily because of an upsurge in BSIs caused by emm1 S. pyogenes, mainly identified as belonging to the M1UK lineage that has extended over other European countries. Remarkably, this coincided with the lifting of mandatory use of protective face masks in Belgium. These data call for increased vigilance and a sustained real-time monitoring of iGAS infections in Europe.

This study is part of the surveillance efforts of the National Reference Centre for Beta-Hemolytic Streptococci, Belgium, a virtual centre where UZA, University of Antwerp (the LMM) and ULB are partners.

Read the paper here.