A large outbreak of streptococcal sore throat in a Royal Air Force Training Camp resulted in five cases of rheumatic fever among the 16- to 18-year-old apprentices, and one case in a 33-year-old airman. The most prevalent type of group A streptococcus isolated from throat swabs was M-type 5 and there was serological evidence that at least four of the rheumatic fever (R.F.) cases were due to this type.
Among the patients with uncomplicated throat infection the anti-streptolysin O (ASO) and anti-deoxyribonuclease B (anti-DNAase B) responses were in general rather low, even where there was evidence of protective antibody against type 5. However, a combination of the results of the ASO and anti-DNAase B tests gave an estimate of the extent of streptococcal infection 15–25% higher than did either test alone.
The titres of antibody to M-associated protein (MAP) were ≥ 60 in all the r.f. patients, and in about 50% of the other patients with ASO titres ≥ 200. This figure is unusually high compared with data from several other outbreaks of streptococcal infection due to different serotypes and also greatly exceeds comparable figures for cases of sporadic sore throat and acute glomerulonephritis.