The economic and health burdens of diseases caused by group A Streptococcus in New Zealand

Jeffrey W. Cannon, Jane Zhung, Julie Bennett, Nicole J. Moreland, Michael G. Baker, Elizabeth Geelhoed, John Fraser, Jonathan R. Carapetis, Susan Jack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: In preparation for the future arrival of a group A Streptococcus (GAS) vaccine, this study estimated the economic and health burdens of GAS diseases in New Zealand (NZ). Methods: The annual incidence of GAS diseases was based on extrapolation of the average number of primary healthcare episodes managed each year in general practices (2014–2016) and on the average number of hospitalizations occurring each year (2005–2014). Disease incidence was multiplied by the average cost of diagnosing and managing an episode of disease at each level of care to estimate the annual economic burden. Results: GAS affected 1.5% of the population each year, resulting in an economic burden of 29.2 million NZ dollars (2015 prices) and inflicting a health burden of 2373 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Children <5 years of age were the most likely age group to present for GAS-related healthcare. Presentations for superficial throat and skin infections (predominantly pharyngitis and impetigo) were more common than other GAS diseases. Cellulitis contributed the most to the total economic and health burdens. Invasive and immune-mediated diseases disproportionately contributed to the total economic and health burdens relative to their frequency of occurrence. Conclusion: Preventing GAS diseases would have substantial economic and health benefits in NZ and globally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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