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Environmental Analysis

Group A Streptococcus Outbreak

Published: March 10th, 2017

Revised: March 10th, 2017

On March 17, 2016, TPH (Toronto Public Health) declared an outbreak of Group A Streptococcus in Toronto’s largest homeless shelter.

The Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacterium can cause many different infections that range from minor illnesses (strep throat, scarlet fever) to very serious and deadly diseases (post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis) that can lead to flesh-eating disease, meningitis or sepsis.

Although the number of infected persons were declining from the beginning of the outbreak in March to September, TPH were still finding new carriers of the bacterium from routine screenings of both employees of the shelters as well as their patrons. The first attempt to mitigate the outbreak was unsuccessful due to the lack of eliminating the environmental reservoir, the homeless shelter itself – as like with many bacteria, GAS can survive on hard surfaces touched by infected persons.

Sporometrics was pleased to lend our efforts to aid in the containment of this outbreak by determining the presence of GAS in various places to target the problem areas of infection such as the lockers, cots, tables and floors for proper cleaning and disinfection.