During 1981–1993, 229 episodes of bacteraemia due to β-haemolytic streptococci of groups A, B, C and G were diagnosed in the County of Northern Jutland, Denmark. The annual rates for bacteraemia were quite constant during the 13-year period for each streptococcal group. Group A streptococcal (GAS) bacteraemia was the most frequent, comprising 1·4% of all bacteraemias. The incidence of GAS bacteraemia was 1·8/100000/ year in children < 5 years of age-and 4·7/100 000/year in patients > 60 years old. With the notable exception of group B streptococcal (GBS) bacteraemia in neonates, β-haemolytic streptococci of groups B, C (GCS) and G (GGS) were isolated mostly from elderly patients. Except for GBS bacteraemia in neonates, approximately one-third of the bacteraemias in each group was nosocomially acquired. Predisposing factors included operative procedures in GAS and GCS bacteraemia, and diabetes mellitus in GBS bacteraemia. The skin was the most common primary focus in GAC, GCC and GGS bacteraemias, whereas the urinary tract was the commonest focus in GBS bacteraemia in adults. The mortality rates in GAS, GCS, GGS, and adult GBS bacteraemia were 23%, 16%, 17% and 19%, respectively. Of the 23 fatal cases of GAS bacteraemia, 57% died within 24h after blood cultures had been obtained.


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