DHMH and Baltimore County Department of Health Investigating Cluster of Invasive Group A Streptococcus Associated with Cosmetic Surgery Center

 BALTIMORE (September 19, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Baltimore County Department of Health are investigating a cluster of three severe invasive Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections in persons who recently had liposuction at a cosmetic surgery center, Monarch Med Spa, in Timonium, Maryland.  The procedures occurred in mid-August to mid-September.  All three patients were hospitalized; one subsequently died.

DHMH and Baltimore County have ordered the facility closed while the investigation proceeds to determine possible sources of the infections and to limit further spread (the order is attached).  The facility has been cooperative in the course of the investigation.
 
Any individual who has had any procedure at this facility recently and has concerns about a subsequent infection should consult with his/her primary care provider and notify his/her local health department.  Symptoms may include:
  • Fever or influenza-like syndrome
  • Redness at a wound site
  • Abrupt onset of generalized or localized severe pain and swelling, often rapidly increasing
  • Progressive dizziness, weakness and confusion
Group A Streptococci are often found in the throat and on the skin.  These bacteria are spread through direct contact with mucus from the nose or throat of persons who are infected or through contact with infected wounds or sores on the skin or by contact with contaminated surfaces. Sick individuals, such as those who have strep throat or skin infections (impetigo), are most likely to spread the infection.  Persons (also called “carriers”) who carry the bacteria but have no symptoms are much less contagious.
 
Most GAS infections are relatively mild; however, occasionally these bacteria can cause severe and even life-threatening diseases when they infect parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs.  These infections are termed "invasive GAS disease."
 
Persons with skin lesions (such as cuts, surgical wounds, chickenpox), the elderly, and adults with a history of alcohol abuse or injection drug use have a higher risk for developing invasive GAS disease.  Also, people with chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and chronic heart or lung disease, and those who use medications such as steroids, have a higher risk.
Over the last five years, an average of 189 cases of invasive GAS were reported annually in Maryland.  About 9,000 to 11,500 cases of invasive GAS disease occur each year in the United States, resulting in 1,000 to 1,800 deaths annually. For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupastreptococcal_g.htm.
 
Cosmetic surgery centers in Maryland are not currently subject to state licensure. In the near future, DHMH will seek public comment on potential approaches to oversight of these facilities.
 
Media inquiries regarding this infection cluster will be handled by the Baltimore County Department of Health Public Information Office. Call Monique Lyle at 410-887-6092 or 443-463-3757.
 

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WCHD News

 

SNOW HILL, Md. – The Worcester County Health Department urges all residents age 6 months and older, including pregnant women and those with medical conditions, to be vaccinated for the 2018-2019 seasonal flu. People age 65 years and older have a choice of two flu vaccines available to them at the Worcester County Health Department. They can choose to receive a regular flu vaccine or a high dose flu vaccine which may result in a stronger immune response against the flu.

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All services at this site have been relocated to either Snow Hill or the Berlin Health Center. We apologize for any inconvenience. For more information or to check on the status of your appointment, please call 410-632-1100.

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Snow Hill, MD- Worcester County Health Department will launch “Just Walk Worcester” on October 12. This new website will be an inclusive resource for finding places to walk and explore no matter where you are in the county. The site features maps of all local parks and trails as well as walking tips, helpful videos, and details about each area including the length of trails, if there are any fees and if the spot is pet-friendly. Residents can view drone footage of each trail, allowing walkers to know the ins and outs of the path before they even lace up their shoes.

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