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The associations between invasive group A streptococcal disease and infection with influenza, varicella, or hepatitis C viruses: A data linkage study, Victoria, Australia


  • Goldsmith, Jessie J.
  • Vu, Christy
  • Zhu, Ziheng
  • MacLachlan, Jennifer H.
  • Thomson, Tilda N.
  • Campbell, Patricia Therese
  • Gibney, Katherine B.


International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 141, 2024-04-30

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Objectives To quantify the associations between invasive group A streptococcal disease (iGAS) incidence and influenza, varicella, and chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV). Methods We used individual-level linked data of iGAS cases from Victoria, Australia (2007-2017) to assess associations between these viral infections and iGAS. A self-controlled case series method was used to estimate the relative incidence of iGAS following an influenza or varicella infection, while the relative incidence of iGAS among HCV cases, and HCV cases who inject drugs, was estimated using population-level data and a negative binomial regression model. Results Of the 1949 individuals with at least one iGAS diagnosis, 82 were diagnosed with influenza at least once, 30 with varicella, and 118 with HCV during the study period. The relative incidence of iGAS increased substantially following infection with influenza (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 34.5, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 21.3-55.8) or varicella (IRR: 22.4, 95% CI: 10.3-48.8). iGAS incidence was higher among HCV cases (IRR: 5.7, 95% CI: 4.4-7.3) compared to individuals without HCV. iGAS incidence was also higher among HCV cases who inject drugs (IRR: 17.9, 95% CI: 13.0-24.4) compared to individuals without HCV who did not inject drugs. Conclusions We found a significantly higher risk of iGAS following an influenza or varicella infection and for chronic HCV cases, particularly those who inject drugs. These findings are relevant to public health practice and support the timely identification of iGAS cases.