21 Jun 2014

Strep A strain was highly invasive

12:56 pm on 21 June 2014

Test results for a strain of Strep A which has killed five people in Christchurch confirm it was a highly invasive strain of the disease.

The strain killed five residents of Bishop Selwyn Lifecare resthome earlier this month.

Bishop Selwyn Lifecare Centre, Christchurch.

Bishop Selwyn Lifecare Centre, Christchurch. Photo: Google Maps

Strep A is a common cause of most illnesses such as sore throats or coughing, but the test results confirm suspicions this was a particularly aggressive strain of the infection.

Canterbury's Medical Officer of Health, Ramon Pink, said that's what caused the infection to spread so rapidly among such a small group of people.

Dr Pink said when coupled with conditions resthome residents may already have, such as diabetes or heart conditions, aggressive strains of Strep A can kill.

He said he's confident the Bishop Selwyn resthome has good practices in place, and there is no further danger to residents or the community.