Group A streptococcal infection is associated with the occurrence of acute glomerulonephritis (AGN) and rheumatic fever (RF). A surveillance study in the Saga area, in northern Kyushu, Japan, showed a small variation in the reported number of group A streptococcal infections in the period 1988-94. However, of the AGN cases reported in this period, more than half were observed in 1992. In order to examine whether some change had occurred in the serotype distribution of Streptococcus pyogenes during the period, patients in the Saga area diagnosed as having group A streptococcal infection and patients with AGN or RF were analyzed. Serological T-typing of S. pyogenes was carried out for patients with group A streptococcal infections, and the association between the occurrence of AGN or RF and the distribution of each different T subtype was analyzed. M-typing of S. pyogenes was also carried out and the correlation between T and M types was examined. From 1988 to 1994, the annual number of patients with group A streptococcal infections in the Saga area showed a small variation, range 65-100 patients/year. Of the 42 patients with AGN and three with RF observed in this period, 27 with AGN (64%) and one with RF (33.3%) were detected in 1992. Only the T1 subtype increased in 1992; the other T subtypes showed little variation in incidence. The number of patients with the T1 subtype was significantly correlated with the occurrence of AGN by regression analysis (P < 0.01). Of the 170 subjects tested for both T and M subtypes, 44 of the 45 T1-typed subjects had the M1 protein. Our epidemiological study suggested that the T1 subtype of streptococcal infection was associated with an outbreak of AGN in 1992 in the Saga area.