In the most severe cases, skin and soft tissue are affected, which can lead to amputation or even death of the patient. This Streptococcus A can, in very rare cases, cause death within 12 to 24 hours of infection.

From August 28, 2022 to February 11, 2023, 347 cases of AGII were reported, compared to an average of 223 cases for the same period before the pandemic (between 2015 and 2019), the provincial ministry explains in the latest Flashwatch publication , a scientific bulletin produced by the Provincial Health Surveillance Department.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cases has increased across the province, note the article’s authors, who say the increase in the number of infections is not explained by a new strain or possible antibiotic resistance.

In fact, cases of IISGA follow the trend of viral respiratory tract infections such as influenza.

Thus, the increase in cases in the fall of 2022 was followed by a peak increase in the percentage of positive influenza tests, observed the Scientific Bulletin in its April 2023 edition.

As there is no vaccine to prevent it, good hygiene practices are the only way to limit the transmission of these infections, as indicated by the authors of the article.

In fact, infectious complications can be very debilitating, as Radio-Canada has seen with patients with carnivorous disease.


It starts with a very high fever, recalls Steve Ross, a 39-year-old patient. It comes with shivering, difficulty breathing, nausea, and it all went downhill very quickly.

After three operations and six days of hospitalization, his left hand was saved from being amputated.

Another patient, Carol-Ann Doucet, experienced a similar fear. My biggest panic, I would say it was my first operation, because they made me sign a paper that they could amputate my arm, she said in return.

In 1995 former Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard was a victim and had to have his left leg amputated.

The disease can also be manifested by sore throat or superinfection of wounds.

Usually mild

According to the Government of Canada, Group A streptococci are bacteria that usually cause mild illnesses such as throat infections or sinusitis.

In most carriers of the bacteria, the effects are mild, reminds Dr. Cecil Tremblay.

“It is actually a very common bacteria. Many people in the population carry it and often it does us no harm. »

– A quote from Cecil Tremblay, microbiologist-infectious

The trend of increasing numbers of IISGA is not specific to Quebec. Since the fall of 2022, an increase in AGII has been observed in other Canadian provinces and other countries, with the appearance of three particularly contagious respiratory viruses.

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