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What About Type A Strep?

Throat pain is one of the main symptoms of all adult primary care visits each year. But how to know if what you’re really suffering is a strep infection?
strep sore throat

We have talked about sore throats in previous articles. Viruses cause most of the throat pains. Nevertheless, there are some cases where a pain in the throat can be caused by a type of bacteria called streptococcus. It affects not only the throat, but also the tonsils. This is the Group A Streptococcus (GAS) or type A strep throat.

What Exactly Is Strep Throat?

Streptococcus is a group of bacteria commonly found in the throat and skin. Type A strep causes tonsillitis, impetigo or scarlet fever. It is usually mild, although complications can occur. Acute tonsillitis is undoubtedly one of the most frequent pathologies. And nowadays there has been a significant increase.

Current Unusual Increase In Type A strep

In the last few weeks, there has been an unusual increase in cases of children with infections caused by type A strep, according to the UK Health Security Agency and Public Health Scotland. Serious cases and deaths have recently been reported.

It does not seem to be a more aggressive type of streptococcus that is resistant to conventional treatment. According to experts, it could be a decrease in population immunity due to the measures taken during the pandemic. This would now show an increase in the number of cases that did not suffer from this infection in the worst moments of COVID-19.

The Most Common Symptoms Of Strep Throat

1● Fever, usually high.

2● Pain on swallowing.

3● Reddening tonsils and whitish patches on their surface.

4● Mucus is usually absent.

5● Swollen lymph nodes (lumps in the neck).

Strep Throat Transmission And Recommendations

Transmission occurs by direct contact with the patients’ nasal or throat secretions. However, it is not as contagious as viruses.

To prevent infection, we recommend avoiding contact with patients’ secretions, washing hands regularly and even wearing a mask. This last tip will prevent the spread of secretions through the air.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Are you worried that your sore throat is a strep infection? We recommend you to visit a doctor who can easily determine your diagnosis regarding the symptoms that you have.

Rapid diagnostic tests for streptococcus are available. These are very effective and provide a reliable result within 10-20 minutes. If this rapid antigen test is negative and the suspicion of streptococcal infection persists, the doctor may order a throat swab for a bacterial culture.

Antibiotic treatment is usually effective. It prevents transmission to others, helps you feel better quickly and in most cases is definitive.


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