An outbreak of food-borne group A Streptococcus (GAS) tonsillopharyngitis among residents of a dormitory

Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases

Volume 9 - Number

Article Type: ---- Unspecified ----

Epidemics of food-borne pharyngitis due to group A Streptococcus are rarely reported. Here we present an outbreak of food-borne tonsillopharyngitis in female dormitories in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Throat swabs and cultures were performed on a number of patients, and of specimens from the nasopharynx and hands of staff who were involved in food processing. We planned a case-control study for assessing the source of epidemics. 11 out of 17 throat swabs of students were positive for Streptococcus group A and also 2 throat samples from asymptomatic cooks were positive. A DNA fingerprinting study showed that Streptococcus group A strains of 11 students and 1 cook had the same T agglutination pattern and M protein factor (M3/T13). It is suggested that group A streptococci as well as group C and G streptococci can cause epidemic food-borne pharyngitis. Regular health surveillance of food handlers and food preparation processes are important for prevention of such outbreaks.