Group A Streptococcus Data

Project Information


Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a Gram-positive bacterium that causes several diseases in humans, including pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis, skin infections (impetigo, erysipelis, and other forms of pyoderma), acute rheumatic fever (ARF), scarlet fever (SF), poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, a toxic-shock-like syndrome, and necrotizing fasciitis (NF). On a global basis, ARF and subsequent rheumatic heart disease (RHD) are the most common cause of preventable pediatric heart disease. In the United States, "sore throat" is the third most common reason for physician office visits and GAS is recovered from about 30% of children with this complaint. There are 25 - 35 million cases of GAS pharyngitis per year in the United States, responsible for about 1 - 2 billion dollars per year in direct health care costs, and 700 million cases globally each year. Furthermore, the continued high morbidity and mortality caused by GAS in developing nations, the significant health care financial burden attributable to GAS in the United States, the development and spread of antibiotic resistance in this pathogen, and lack of a licensed human vaccine, highlight the need for a fuller understanding of the molecular evolutionary events contributing to clone emergence, epidemics, and GAS pathogenesis.

In spite of the accumulation of a tremendous amount of genome sequence data, there has been little effort to use the knowledge to probe certain fundamental problems in the evolutionary genetics of infectious diseases, including the emergence of new clones and epidemics. Especially notable has been the lack of hypothesis-driven research in this area. The time is right to use state-of-the-art genome-wide investigative strategies (sometimes referred to as molecular pathogenomics) to provide new information about these longstanding and heretofore largely intractable infectious disease questions. GAS is one of the most deeply sequenced pathogens and unique population-based strain samples linked to high-quality epidemiologic and clinical data are available. Therefore, study of this pathogen can provide a paradigm for analysis of related problems in other pathogens.

This project description was taken from a white paper authored by James M. Musser, M.D., Ph.D., and Stephen B. Beres, Ph.D., from The Methodist Hospital Research Institute.

This sequencing project was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health funded Genome Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases at the Broad Institute.

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