Streptococcal Infections (cont.)

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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?

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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
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Impetigo
  • Cellulitis (almost anywhere on the body; see erysipelas below)
  • Wound infections
  • Bone infections
  • Sinusitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Meningitis
  • Necrotizing fasciitis (sometimes termed a flesh-eating disease)
  • 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.


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Streptococcal Infections - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your streptococcal disease?
Streptococcal Infections - Causes Question: What caused your streptococcal infection?
Streptococcal Infections - Diagnosis Question: How was your streptococcal (GAS) infections diagnosed?
Streptococcal Infections - Signs and Symptoms Question: What were the signs and symptoms associated with your GAS infection, and what type did you have?