Bacterial infections on the rise in Australian states

Australian health officials have warned of an increase in rare COVID-mimicking bacterial infections that can cause disability and death.

Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) and invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) cases have increased in recent weeks, according to NSW Health.

While iGAS cases were on the rise in Australia and abroad, rates of IMD were above average statewide as 2022 came to a close.

Dr Richard Broome, Executive Director of Health Protection NSW, said it was important for communities to be aware that while these conditions are rare, they are serious enough to cause permanent disability and death. said it is.

These infections can mimic the symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu in their early stages and can occur simultaneously with viral infections, Bloom said.

“Rapid intervention and effective treatment for invasive bacterial infections are available and can save lives. If you are sick, or if you or someone in your care appears very unwell, it is recommended that you seek emergency medical care.

“While notification data on iGAS has only recently been made available in NSW, the number of people who are unwell with the condition is clearly increasing here and around the world.”

Between September and December last year, 137 cases of iGAS were confirmed in New South Wales, with 36 cases of IMD reported statewide in 2022.

Common symptoms of serious illness include fever, rapid heartbeat, cold hands and feet, patchy skin, fatigue, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Infected young children may be irritable, stay awake, refuse to eat, urinate less frequently, and have trouble breathing.

Symptoms of IMD include severe headaches, neck stiffness, discomfort in bright lights, and pain in joints and limbs.

A rash of reddish-purple spots and bruises often develops later in the disease.

iGAS can cause sore muscles and red, painful, rapidly spreading skin infections consisting of pus and ulcers.

Bleeding and discharge can also occur in women who are pregnant or have just given birth.


Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.