Investigation of MedSpa Group A Streptococcus Cases is Expanded

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During the week of Sept 17, 2012, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Baltimore County Department of Health began investigating a cluster of three severe invasive Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections in persons who recently had liposuction at a cosmetic surgery center, Monarch MedSpa, in Timonium, Md. As reported previously, the procedures occurred in mid-August to mid-September. All three patients were hospitalized; one subsequently died. DHMH and Baltimore County ordered the facility closed on Sept. 18.

Because there are also Monarch MedSpa facilities in other states, the investigation has expanded.  A coordinated effort with Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is underway. The status of the Maryland investigation is ongoing, and to date, no additional Maryland cases have been identified. 

Cosmetic surgery centers in Maryland are not currently subject to state licensure. DHMH is seeking public comment on potential approaches to oversight of these facilities. For more information about how to submit comments, visit http://dhmh.maryland.gov/SitePages/Outpatient%20Surgical%20Centers.aspx.

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.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is also advising customers of Monarch Medspa in Harrisburg, King of Prussia and Philadelphia that they may have been exposed to Group A Strep. The department is warning customers as a precautionary measure after learning that the chain’s Maryland location closed on Sept. 19 due to Group A Strep exposure. Since the Maryland employees often work in the Pennsylvania locations as well, the department immediately began investigating within Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Philadelphia and Montgomery County Health Departments.

Symptoms of Group A Strep include fever, infection or prolonged redness of the wound site after a procedure. Anyone who visited Monarch Medspa and has these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider or their local health department.

Monarch Medspa has fully cooperated with health authorities throughout the investigation.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupastreptococcal_g.htm.

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