Background and design: Although the association between streptococcal infection and guttate psoriasis is well known, to date there has been little information on whether only limited groups and/or serotypes of beta-hemolytic streptococci are involved. One hundred eleven patients with a sudden onset or deterioration of psoriasis were investigated for evidence of streptococcal infection. Of these patients, 34 had acute guttate psoriasis, 30 had a guttate flare of chronic psoriasis, 37 had chronic plaque psoriasis, and 10 had other types of psoriasis.
Results: Serologic evidence of recent streptococcal infection was present in 19 (58%) of 33 patients with acute guttate psoriasis compared with seven (26%) of 27 patients with guttate exacerbations of chronic psoriasis. Streptococcus pyogenes was isolated from 19 (17%) of all 111 patients (9 [26%] of 34 with acute guttate psoriasis, four [13%] of 30 with guttate exacerbations of chronic psoriasis, and five [14%] of 37 patients with chronic psoriasis) compared with seven (7%) of 101 of a control population of patients being seen for treatment of viral warts. Other beta-hemolytic streptococci were found with equal frequency in the study and control populations. Thirteen isolates of 10 different streptococcal serotypes were obtained from the 64 patients with guttate psoriasis. These serotypes were similar in distribution and prevalence to those present in the local community.
Conclusions: This study confirms the strong association between prior infection with S pyogenes and guttate psoriasis but suggests that the ability to trigger guttate psoriasis is not serotype specific.