East African Medical Journal

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Epidemiology of streptococcus group A in school aged children in Pemba

A Braito, I Galgani, MR Mohammed, C Iozzi, SM Ame, HS Haji, A Zanchi


Background: In Pemba (Zanzibar) all the risk factors which favour Group A Streptococci spreading, infections and late sequelae are present, though GAS epidemiology is unknown.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of GAS pharyngeal carriers among school-agedchildren.

Design: Community-based cross sectional study, carried out at the end of the dry season (January-February 2001).

Setting: Eight primary schools over the four Pemba districts were included in the study.

Subjects and methods: Two thousand two hundred and eighty six children aged 7-10 years were selected by random sampling and submitted to throat-swab after informed consent. Swabs were processed according to the "Lennette Manual of Clinical Microbiology" 7th Ed. Isolated were tested for antibiotic susceptibility toward penicillins, erythromycin, clindamycin, josamycin, cloramphenicol, levofloxacin, rifampin and tetracyclines.

Results: Twenty seven point six percent of school-aged children harboured β-haemolytic Streptococci in their pharynx; most of the isolates were serologically identified as non Group A streptococci group C and G represented more than 70% of all strains, 38.8% of whom were identified as group G; the prevalence of group A streptococci carriers among healthy children all over the island was 8.6%; group A streptococci isolates were sensitive to all the antibiotic tested, except tetracyclines, towards which 83.2% of strains were resistant.

Conclusion: This is the first research in the field of bacteriology carried out in Pemba. According to the epidemiology of group A streptococci and to the environmental and underlying factors which predispose to late group A streptococci sequelae, we suggest to consider antibiotic treatment for children presenting with sore throat with fever and swollen cervical lymphonodes without cough or coryza.

East African Medical Journal Vol.81(6) 2004: 307-312
AJOL African Journals Online