Purpose: Anecdotal reports suggest that blunt trauma and seemingly innocuous musculoskeletal injuries (e.g., muscle strains) are risk factors for developing necrotizing fasciitis (NF) and myositis caused by group A Streptococcus and other bacteria; however, this hypothesis has not been tested in analytic epidemiologic studies of invasive group A streptococcal (GAS) disease. We conducted two case-control studies to determine whether nonpenetrating trauma is a risk factor for either NF or severe cellulitis caused by GAS. Methods: A secondary analysis of patients who were hospitalized throughout Florida for invasive GAS disease during a 4-year period was conducted. Two case series were used. The first series comprised patients who had severe GAS cellulitis. The second were patients who had GAS NF. Case-patients were compared to a single control series composed of patients with invasive GAS disease not including either NF or cellulitis (e.g., primary bacteremia, septic arthritis). Results: After we adjusted for age, race, and clindamycin usage, GAS NF cases were 5.97 times as likely as controls to have a recent history of blunt trauma (p = 0.04). Patients with severe cellulitis were not more likely than controls to have associated blunt trauma. Conclusions: Nonpenetrating trauma is significantly associated with the development of GAS NF. ©2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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