Fatal necrotizing pneumonia caused by group A streptococcus


Dr AB Cengiz, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Ihsan Dog^ramacı Children's Hospital, Hacettepe University Sıhhiye 06100, Ankara, Turkey. Fax: +90 312 3243284; email: ateskara@hacettepe.edu.tr


Abstract:  Group A streptococcus (GAS) causes invasive, non-invasive and non-suppurative diseases. Pneumonia is one of the invasive infections caused by GAS. Although GAS is a significant and serious cause of childhood pneumonia, it is often overlooked clinically. Similarly, the recent literature is surprisingly scant on reports of GAS pneumonia and concentrates mainly on varicella-associated invasive GAS diseases. In this case report, we present a previously healthy 7-year-old child with community-acquired pneumonia that progressed rapidly and resulted in sepsis, respiratory failure and death. In both blood and pleural fluid cultures, Streptococcus pyogenes were isolated. On autopsy, macroscopic examination revealed that the lung tissue appeared to have lost its normal architecture. Necrosis was present and the lung had a spongy appearance with some solid areas. The light microscopy revealed massive oedema, haemorrhages, intense inflammatory cell infiltration and necrosis. This case report highlights the need for consideration of invasive GAS infection in the event of severe, rapidly progressing pneumonia in children.