Disparate Effects of Invasive Group A Streptococcus on Native Americans
Active surveillance of invasive group A Streptococcus (iGAS) disease indicates that its incidence in the US general population is low, but limited studies show rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) are severalfold higher. Major disparities in rates of iGAS exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations of Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, but much less is understood about iGAS among AI/AN in the United States. Although complex host–pathogen interactions influence the rates of iGAS, including strain variation and virulence, the number and type of concurrent conditions, and socioeconomic status, the relative contribution of each remains unclear. We highlight the poor correlation between the substantial effect of iGAS among Indigenous persons in industrialized countries and the current understanding of factors that influence iGAS disease in these populations. Prospective, large-scale, population-based studies of iGAS are needed that include AI/AN as a necessary first step to understanding the effects of iGAS.