Increasing incidence of invasive group A streptococcal disease in Western Australia, particularly among Indigenous people.
Objective: To quantify the burden of invasive group A Streptococcus (GAS) disease in Western Australia during 2000-2018. Design, setting: Population-based data linkage study: Hospital Morbidity Data Collection (HMDC; all WA public and private hospital records), PathWest pathology data (government-owned pathology services provider), and death registrations. Participants: People with invasive GAS disease, defined by an isolate from a normally sterile site (PathWest) or a hospital-based principal ICD-10-AM diagnosis code (HMDC). Main outcome measures: Incidence of invasive GAS disease; median length of hospital stay; all-cause mortality. Results: We identified 2237 cases of GAS disease during 2000-2018; 1283 were in male patients (57%). 1950 cases had been confirmed by GAS isolates from normally sterile tissues (87%; including 1089 from blood [56% of cases] and 750 from tissue [38%]). The age-standardised incidence increased from 2.0 (95% CI, 1.4-2.7) cases per 100 000 population in 2000 to 9.1 (95% CI, 7.9-10.2) cases per 100 000 in 2017 (by year, adjusted for age group and sex: incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.09; 95% CI, 1.08-1.10). Incidence was consistently higher among Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians (year-adjusted IRR, 13.1; 95% CI, 11.3-15.1). All-cause 30-day mortality was 5% (116 deaths), and 90-day mortality 7% (156 deaths); 30-day mortality, adjusted for age group and sex, was not statistically significantly different for cases involving Indigenous or non-Indigenous patients (adjusted odds ratio, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-1.1). Conclusions: The incidence of invasive GAS disease in WA increased between 2000 and 2018, particularly among Indigenous Australians. Mandatory notification of invasive GAS disease would therefore be appropriate. The social determinants of differences in incidence should be addressed, and other relevant host, pathogen, and health system factors investigated.