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Originally Published by NBC News

Strep infections have persisted at high levels so far this spring, even compared to pre-pandemic years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said unpublished data from its national surveillance program show that emergency department visits for regular strep infections reached a five-year high in February and March.

A report from Epic Research, which analyzes electronic health records, suggests that in February, rates of strep throat were nearly 30% higher than during the previous peak in February 2017.

Preliminary data suggests the upward trend continued in March, the group told NBC News.

The CDC was unable to confirm Epic’s statistics since it does not have data on regular strep infections dating back to 2017.

But Dr. Michael Cappello, vice chair of pediatrics for Advocate Children’s Hospital in the Chicago area, said that compared to pre-pandemic levels, “we’re definitely seeing more run-of-the-mill strep throats, without a doubt.”

Strep rates are normally highest from December through April, but doctors last year started seeing cases as early as September.

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infection prevention