This season, a report from the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed an increase in cases of invasive group A streptococcus (iGAS), a severe but rare strep A infection, in children in the U.K. There have been 60 deaths, 15 among children under 18, related to these extreme cases.
Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, says most strep A infections are mild and can be treated at home even if they are severe. Experts, however, urge parents to know the symptoms of a strep A infection – and when to seek medical attention.
What Are The Symptoms Of Strep A?
It is a bacterium that causes infections like strep throat, skin infections, and respiratory infections, Dr. Kiley Trott, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Yale Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. It is also known as group A Streptococcus (group A strep).
There are two types of skin infections in this category: impetigo and cellulitis.
Strep A Symptoms: What Are They?
As Kimbrough points out, strep A commonly causes a sore throat, known as strep throat. She says swallowing can be painful. The most common age for strep throat is 5 to 15 years old. Kimbrough says other symptoms of strep A infection include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, tiny red spots on the roof of the mouth, swollen tonsils, white patches on the tonsils, nausea, and rash.
How Serious Is Strep A Infection?
Most of the time, strep A only causes mild to moderate symptoms. However, it can become severe if left untreated or the bacteria spread to other body parts. It occurs when the bacteria enter the body and evade the body’s defenses, which causes invasive group A strep. A person can become infected when they have open sores or other breaks in their skin.
Typically, How Is Strep A Treated?
Kimbrough says that strep A symptoms often resemble those of viral infections, such as influenza. Hence, a doctor takes a throat culture with a quick swab on the back of the throat before prescribing treatment. Strep A is treated with antibiotics – typically penicillin or amoxicillin – for ten days if the test is positive. It is also possible to treat scarlet fever with antibiotics.