Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome cases increasing at record pace in Japan

Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, or STSS, which develops rapidly and can be fatal, is spreading at a record pace in Japan.

STSS is mainly caused by the "group A Streptococcus" bacterium and mostly affects people in their 30s or older.
Patients can develop necrosis of the limbs and suffer multiple organ failures.

Through May 5, Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases has received preliminary reports about 801 cases of STSS this year. That figure is 2.76 times higher than the number from the same period last year.

Case counts are rising at a faster pace than they did last year, when the number of patients reached 941. That was the highest figure ever registered using the current record-keeping method.

The reason for the increase is not clear. But experts note that the number of strep throat cases has risen since anti-COVID measures were eased.

Experts say infections can occur via open wounds.

The head of Mie National Hospital, Taniguchi Kiyosu, says strep bacteria are common. But he notes that, when they enter the body through cuts and other injuries, the results can be dramatic. He is urging people to disinfect wounds and practice anti-infection measures, such as handwashing.