Group A streptococcal infections of the skin: molecular advances but limited therapeutic progress

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    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: With the sequencing of several Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus) genomes have come major advances in understanding the pathogenesis of group A Streptococcus-associated diseases. This review focuses on group A Streptococcus skin infections and summarizes data published in the English language medical literature in 2004 and 2005. RECENT FINDINGS: Group A Streptococcus shows enormous and evolving molecular diversity driven by horizontal transmission between group A Streptococcus strains and between group A Streptococcus and other streptococci. Acquisition of prophages accounts for much of the diversity, conferring both virulence through phage-associated virulence factors and increased bacterial survival against host defences. Studies of group A Streptococcus isolates outside the US also question the generalizability of classic group A Streptococcus M serotype associations with specific disease entities such as acute rheumatic fever and necrotizing fasciitis. The distinction between throat and skin group A Streptococcus has become blurred. Although there have been few advances in treatment of group A Streptococcus skin infections, developments towards group A Streptococcus vaccines are promising. SUMMARY: The diversity of group A Streptococcus remains a challenge for vaccine development. As acute rheumatic fever and streptococcal pyoderma occur predominantly in disadvantaged populations, international funding support will be necessary for any group A Streptococcus vaccine to have a sustained impact on the global burden of disease. � 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-138
    Number of pages7
    JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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