Scarlet Fever Symptoms and Signs
Sore Throat: Virus or Strep?
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, M.D.
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR
Are you wondering if your sore throat requires antibiotics? Strep throat, named for the Streptococcus bacterium that causes the condition, is a particularly severe form of sore throat that is best treated with antibiotics. Strep throat can strike both children and adults, but only about five to ten percent of sore throats are caused by a bacterial infection. Most sore throats are caused by viral illnesses and are not responsive to treatment with antibiotics.
A true streptococcal infection of the throat often leads to excruciating throat pain accompanied by difficulty swallowing and even speaking. Fevermay be present, and the tonsilsare often covered with a whitish layer of pus. Coughand runny noseare not commonly related to strep throat, but it is possible to have a streptococcal infection along with a viral upper respiratory infectionand symptoms of a cold. The bacterial infection may result in enlarged, tender lymph nodes in the neck. Children may have an accompanying rash; a streptococcus infection along with a rash is commonly termed scarlet fever.