Acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis

Acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN) is an inflammatory disease of the kidneys. It is typically caused by skin sores or a sore throat.

APSGN is an immune system response to an infection with streptococcus bacteria.

The NT has one of the highest incidence rates of APSGN in the world. It most commonly affects Aboriginal children but can be experienced by anyone.

While severe outbreaks are rare, you should take precautions and preventative measures.

How it is spread

APSGN occurs between 2 to 3 weeks after skin or throat infection of group A streptococcus bacteria. It can also occasionally be spread through groups C or G streptococcus.

You can't catch APSGN from someone else because it is your body’s immune response to bacteria and not an infection by itself.

However, someone with a streptococcus infection can spread the bacteria to others, mainly through respiratory droplets.

Who it affects

APSGN most commonly affects children between 12 months and 17 years, but can occur at any age. Aboriginal children are a high-risk group.

Symptoms

Symptoms of APSGN can include:

  • puffy or swollen eyes or face
  • dark coloured urine.

Treatment

If you think you or your child may have APSGN, contact your local clinic or health professional to get checked.

Take kids to the clinic if they have skin sores, scabies or sore throats to get them treated early.

Skin sores (a common symptom of APSGN) are treatable with benzathine penicillin, which you can get through a prescription.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine for group A streptococcus.

Good hygiene is the main way to prevent all forms of bacterial infections.

To reduce the spread of bacteria, wash your hands regularly, especially:

  • after coughing and sneezing
  • before preparing, eating or serving foods.

People with 'strep throats' should avoid contact with others.

Contact

Contact your nearest Centre for Disease Control on the NT Health website.


Last updated: 20 July 2022

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