Q&A

Questions and Answers for Staff and Parents/Guardians at
Woodfield Day Care Regarding Invasive Group A Streptococcal Disease
The following fact sheet is being provided for your information as a result of a recent case
of invasive group A streptococcus (GAS) in a child who attended Woodfield Day Care.
Please read the following information carefully.
What is (GAS)?
GAS is a germ (bacterium) that is often found in the nose, throat and/or on the skin of healthy
people.
How does GAS spread?
These bacteria are spread through direct contact with secretions from the nose or throat of people
who are infected (e.g. open mouth kissing, mouth to mouth resuscitation) or through contact with
infected wounds or sores on the skin. People who carry the bacteria but have no symptoms are
much less contagious. Treating an infected person with an antibiotic for 24 hours or longer
generally eliminates their ability to spread the bacteria.
Am I at risk of developing invasive GAS?
Close contacts of people with invasive GAS may be at increased risk of infection however, the
risk of infection is low.
Close contacts include:
 People living in the same household as the sick person
 People sharing the same bed with the sick person
 People who have had direct contact with the sick person through mouth to mouth
resuscitation, open mouth kissing, and open skin sores
What kind of illnesses are caused by GAS?
Most people who get GAS will experience common infections such as sore (strep) throat,
tonsillitis, and skin infections (e.g. impetigo, pyoderma). GAS is sometimes found in unusual
places such as blood, fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, or in the lining of muscles and
joints. GAS found in these unusual places is called “invasive disease” and can result in severe
invasive GAS disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of severe invasive GAS?
Symptoms that may indicate severe invasive GAS include:
 Necrotizing fasciitis and myositis: fever, severe pain, swelling and/or redness of part of
the body
 Meningitis: fever, headache, severe neck pain, nausea, and or vomiting
 Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome: fever, a general feeling of unwellness, dizziness,
confusion and/or a flat, red rash on the body.
Over…

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How can GAS infection be prevented?
It is important to monitor for signs and symptoms for 30 days after last contact with a person
with invasive GAS.
If your child develops an illness with fever or any signs and symptoms of severe invasive GAS
(see above) seek immediate medical advice. Tell the doctor that your child has been in contact
with someone recently diagnosed with invasive GAS disease and that he/she has developed
symptoms.
If you are a staff member and you develop an illness with fever or any signs and symptoms of
severe invasive GAS (see above), seek immediate medical advice. Tell your doctor that you
have been in contact with someone recently diagnosed with invasive GAS disease and that you
have developed symptoms.
Preventative antibiotics are not routinely recommended for child care centres.
The spread of all types of GAS infection can be reduced by good hand washing, especially after
coughing and sneezing and before preparing foods or eating. Persons with sore throats should be
seen by a doctor who can perform tests to find out whether the illness is strep throat. If the test
result shows strep throat, the person should stay from home from work, school or child care until
24 hours after taking an antibiotic. All wounds should be kept clean and watched for possible
signs of infection such as redness, swelling, drainage, and pain at the wound site.
For information contact Nadia di Tommaso, Communicable Disease Investigator at
Toronto Public Health at 416-338-2100 between 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.
After hours and on weekends please contact the After Hours Communicable Disease
Manager at 3-1-1.

January 2015

Visit our web site at www.toronto.ca/health

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