Risk factors for group A streptococcal pharyngitis and skin infections: A case control study

Julie Bennett, Nicole J. Moreland, Jane Zhang, Julian Crane, Dianne Sika-Paotonu, Jonathan Carapetis, Deborah A. Williamson, Michael G. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Group A streptococcal (GAS) infections can trigger an immune-mediated response resulting in acute rheumatic fever (ARF). The role of social and environmental risk factors for GAS pharyngitis and skin infections are not well understood. This study aimed to identify factors associated with GAS pharyngitis and skin infections, and to determine if these are the same as those for ARF. Methods: A case-control study, including 733 children aged 5-14 years, was undertaken between March 2018 and October 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. Healthy controls (n = 190) and symptomatic cases including GAS pharyngitis (n = 210), GAS seronegative carriers (n = 182), and GAS skin infections (n = 151) were recruited. Trained interviewers administered a comprehensive, pre-tested, face-to-face questionnaire. Findings: Multivariable analysis identified strong associations between barriers to accessing primary healthcare and having GAS pharyngitis (adjusted OR 3·3; 95% CI 1·8-6·0), GAS carriage (aOR 2·9; 95% CI 1·5-6·0) or a GAS skin infection (aOR 3·5; 95% CI 1·6-7·6). Children who had GAS skin infections were more likely than all other groups to report living in a crowded home (aOR 1·9; 95% CI 1·0-3·4), have Māori or Pacific grandparents (aOR 3·0; 95% CI 1·2-7·6), a family history of ARF (aOR 2·2; 95% CI 1·1-4·3), or having a previous diagnosis of eczema (aOR 3·9; 95% CI 2·2-6·9). Interpretation: Reducing barriers to accessing primary healthcare (including financial restrictions, the inability to book an appointment, lack of transport, and lack of childcare for other children) to treat GAS pharyngitis and skin infections could potentially reduce these infections and lead to a reduction in their sequelae, including ARF. These strategies should be co-designed and culturally appropriate for the communities being served and carefully evaluated. Funding: This work was supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), award number 16/005.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100507
Number of pages9
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk factors for group A streptococcal pharyngitis and skin infections: A case control study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this