Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Invasive Strep Outbreak Kills Four Alaska Natives

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Invasive Strep Outbreak Kills Four Alaska Natives

Article excerpt

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Four Alaskans have died this year in an outbreak of invasive strep bacteria that has mostly affected the homeless and Alaska Natives in the state's two largest cities, the state's epidemiologist said Tuesday. There have been 28 confirmed hospitalization cases of a new strain of Group A Streptococcus bacteria, starting with 10 cases in Fairbanks earlier this year and, more recently, 18 cases in Anchorage, Joe McLaughlin said.

Among the total, 15 involved homeless people in Anchorage and two homeless people in Fairbanks.

Two of the deaths occurred in Fairbanks and two in Anchorage. Another three probable cases in Anchorage have not been confirmed.

All four of the deaths were of Alaska Natives. McLaughlin said studies have shown that American Indians and Alaska Natives are at increased risk of invasive disease. That's when bacteria moves into normally sterile parts of the body.

Also more susceptible are the elderly, young children, people with compromised immune systems and other factors, including alcohol abuse. …

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