Alternate Names : Streptococcal Pharyngitis
Strep throat is an infection of the pharynx caused by the bacteria
Streptococcus pyogenes. The pharynx is the part of the throat between the
tonsils and the larynx, or voice box.
What is going on in the body?
Strep throat is the most common of the many infections that are caused by group A streptococci, or GAS. The bacteria
that causes strep throat makes a toxin that results in an infection in the throat
and tonsils. A person can develop symptoms of strep throat from 1 to 6 days
after being exposed to the bacteria. Symptoms in up to 40% of children may be
too mild to diagnosis. Up to 20% of school-aged children may be carriers of the
bacteria. These children will show no symptoms but can transmit strep throat
A sore throat accompanied by fever is caused by a virus 70% of the time.
Without treatment, uncomplicated viral infections usually subside within 3 to 10 days after onset.
Strep throat is more significant because of the increased
incidence of complications.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is usually spread by person-to-person contact through coughing or
sneezing. Exposure to a person who has untreated strep throat may pose a risk
for acquiring this infection. A person may be a carrier of the strep bacteria
without having symptoms.
People who may be more at risk for serious strep infection include the following:
people who have chronic conditions or diseases such as diabetes
people who have weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or immunodeficiency
children who have chickenpox