Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by group A streptococcus.
Strep throat, also called streptococcal sore throat, is an infection of the tonsils and throat caused by a Streptococcal bacteria. Usual symptoms are chills, fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Strep throat can be cured by antibiotic treatment. If not untreated, strep throat can cause serious heart and kidney complications.
Sore throats can be accompanied with colds and flu, strep throat and tonsillitis.
The majority of sore throats are caused by viruses, most commonly a flu virus or cold. A viral sore throat will usually get better by itself, and has a low of complications.
A sore throat caused by a bacteria, however, has a bigger chance of complication and requires more attention. A sore throat in children that are usually accompanied by high fever, headache, stomach-ache, severe tiredness and vomiting, with or without a red rash, indicates the need for a visit to a family GP.
Although many types of bacteria can cause throat infections, Streptococcus, or strep, is the most cause of bacterial sore throat.
Strep throat is contagious. It is spread by close contact with an infected person, by inhaling airborne droplets from an infected person.
Close-quarter living conditions, such as a school, and family home and university hostels, is an ideal environment for the transmission of strep throat from one person to another. There is an approximate 40% risk of getting strep throat from an infected family member.
Children between the ages of 5 and 15 years have the highest incidence of strep throat.
A strep throat infection may involve inflammation of the tonsils (bacterial tonsillitis). However, treatments on such condition is likely to be different to that for viral tonsillitis.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of strep throat develop one to four days after exposure to the bacteria via airborne droplets or by direct contact with an infected person.
The most characteristic symptoms of strep throat are sore throat and painful on swallowing. Some symptoms include:
- Chills and fever
- Swollen and tender glands (lymph nodes) on the sides of the neck
- Swollen and Red appearance inside the throat
- Pus-like white or spots or yellow patches may be visible on the back of the throat and on the tonsils
- Nausea, headache and vomiting may also be present.
Some people will develop a red skin rash that feels rough to the touch. A strep throat infection usually accompanied by this distinctive rash is known as scarlet fever. The rash is sometime can caused by toxins produced by the streptococcus pyogenes bacterium.