Invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS) is the most common cause of monomicrobial necrotising fasciitis. Necrotising infections of the extremities may present directly to orthopaedic surgeons or by reference from another admitting specialty. Recent epidemiological data from the Health Protection Agency suggest an increasing incidence of iGAS infection in England. Almost 40% of those affected had no predisposing illnesses or risk factors, and the proportion of children presenting with infections has risen. These observations have prompted the Chief Medical Officer for the Central Alerting System in England to write to general practitioners and hospitals, highlighting the need for clinical vigilance, early diagnosis and rapid initiation of treatment in suspected cases. The purpose of this annotation is to summarise the recent epidemiological trends, describe the presenting features and outline the current investigations and treatment of this rare but life-threatening condition. (copyright)2010 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery.
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