Vasectomy Warning: Oral Contact is a Vector for Invasive GAS Disease

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An invasive GAS disease warning for vasectomy patients to avoid oral sexual contact during healing from surgery is published in a recent report from the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Doctors Krishna Ramaswamy and Jed Kaminetsky report in a recent issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine their discovery of an unusual case where a vasectomy patient develops a Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection shortly after his vasectomy surgery.

Group A Streptococcus is a bacterium typically found on the skin or inside the mouth in cases of strep throat infection. While a GAS infection is generally not cause for alarm and is easily treated, it can turn serious to the point of becoming life-threatening. If the bacterium enters into the tissues or bloodstream it becomes what is then termed an “invasive GAS disease.”

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Two of the most infamous of invasive GAS diseases are necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS). Known as the flesh-eating bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis is a progressive disease that destroys the body’s tissues. STSS, on the other hand, results in a rapid decrease in blood pressure and organ failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 10%-15% of patients with invasive Group A streptococcal disease die from their infection.

According to the authors of the report, a vasectomy patient returned one week following his surgery with signs and symptoms of a bacterial infection to his genital region. After culturing a swab sample from the vasectomy wound they discovered that the patient had contracted a Group A streptococcal infection. Upon interviewing the patient they found that the patient and his wife had engaged in oral sex the day following the vasectomy surgery. A sample of pharyngeal mucosa was obtained from his spouse and it was also found to be positive for Group A Streptococcus. Both patient and spouse were successfully treated with antibiotics.

The authors of the report state that this is the first reported instance of a vasectomy infection resulting from oral sexual contact and believe that it is important that doctors educate patients about the dangers of a potentially devastating post-vasectomy complication related to sexual activity.

Source: “Unique Infective Complication after Routine Vasectomy: A Case Report” The Journal of Sexual Medicine Volume 8, Issue 9, pages 2655–2658, September 2011

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