- Anatomy of a Sore Throat Slideshow
- Take the Strep Throat Quiz
- Infectious Mononucleosis Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Streptococcal Infections - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Streptococcal Infections - Signs and Symptoms
- Group A streptococcal infections facts
- What is group A Streptococcus (GAS)?
- How are group A streptococcal (GAS) infections contracted?
- What diseases are caused by group A streptococcal infection?
- Are group A strep infections contagious?
- What is the contagious period for group A strep infections?
- What is the incubation period for group A strep infections?
- What are the symptoms and signs of GAS infections?
- What is invasive group A streptococcal disease? Who is most at risk for getting invasive GAS disease?
- What are the symptoms and signs of necrotizing fasciitis?
- What are the signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (TSS)?
- How are group A streptococcal (GAS) infections diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for invasive group A streptococcal disease?
- What specialists treat group A streptococcal infections?
- What complications are seen with group A streptococcal infections?
- Is it possible to prevent group A streptococcal infections?
- What is the prognosis for group A streptococcal infections?
- Where can people find more information about group A streptococcal infections?
How are group A streptococcal (GAS) infections contracted?
In most instances, GAS bacteria are contracted from other people by direct contact with mucus, skin, or infected lesions. Spread of the GAS organisms occurs infrequently by items that have made contact with infected people. However, many people are colonized (have the bacteria on body surfaces but are not infected) with GAS bacteria. Infants and children often first acquire these organisms from their colonized mothers.
What diseases are caused by group A streptococcal infection?
There are a number of diseases that GAS organisms can cause. The predominant diseases are as follows:
- Pharyngitis (strep throat, Fig. 2)
- Scarlet fever
- Rheumatic fever
- Cellulitis (almost anywhere on the body; see erysipelas below)
- Wound infections
- Bone infections
- Necrotizing fasciitis (sometimes termed a flesh-eating disease)
- Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome
- Puerperal fever (fever after pregnant female delivers)
- Erysipelas (cellulitis of the skin, often the facial skin)
This list is not exhaustive as GAS bacteria have been found in many other disease processes. In addition, many of the diseases listed above may also be caused by many other pathogens, although the first three listed (pharyngitis, scarlet fever, and rheumatic fever) are predominantly caused by GAS. Some investigators consider most of these diseases as complications of an initial GAS skin or throat infection.