Streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat)

By Dr. Mary Holland
Updated 2024-03-06 16:56:24 | Published 2023-07-06 03:21:38
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An abstract illustration of Streptococcal Pharyngitis

Streptococcal pharyngitis, commonly known as strep throat, is a contagious bacterial infection that affects the throat and tonsils. It is caused by the group A Streptococcus bacteria.

Strep throat (streptococcal pharyngitis)- pathophysciology, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

What is streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat)?

Streptococcal pharyngitis, commonly known as strep throat, is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. It primarily affects the throat and tonsils, causing inflammation and soreness.

What are the symptoms of strep throat?

Symptoms include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, red and swollen tonsils, and sometimes white patches or streaks of pus on the tonsils.

How is strep throat diagnosed?

Diagnosis is typically made through a physical examination and a throat swab test. Rapid antigen detection tests can provide results quickly, while a throat culture may be used for more definitive results.

How is strep throat treated?

Treatment usually involves antibiotics, such as penicillin or amoxicillin, to eliminate the bacteria. Over-the-counter pain relievers and throat lozenges can also help relieve symptoms.

Can strep throat be contagious?

Yes, strep throat is contagious and can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by sharing drinks or utensils.

What complications can arise from untreated strep throat?

Untreated strep throat can lead to complications like rheumatic fever, which can affect the heart, joints, skin, and brain, and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which impacts the kidneys.

How can strep throat be prevented?

Prevention involves practicing good hygiene, like frequent handwashing, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, and not sharing personal items like utensils and toothbrushes.

The primary symptoms of strep throat include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, swollen and red tonsils, fever, headache, and fatigue. In some cases, individuals may also experience nausea and vomiting.

Strep throat spreads through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by coming into contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with the bacteria.

Diagnosis of strep throat is typically done through a throat culture or a rapid strep test. Treatment often involves a course of antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional. Adequate rest, staying hydrated, and using over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate symptoms.

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It is important to treat strep throat promptly to prevent potential complications such as rheumatic fever, post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, or the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

Causes of Streptococcal Pharyngitis (Strep Throat)

  • Caused by infection with group A Streptococcus bacteria.
  • Droplet transmission from an infected person through respiratory secretions, such as coughing or sneezing.
  • Close contact with an infected person, such as sharing food or drinks.
  • Touching surfaces contaminated with the bacteria and then touching your mouth or nose.
  • Weakened immune system, making it easier for the bacteria to cause an infection.
  • Lack of good hygiene practices, such as not washing hands regularly.
Disease: Streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat)
  • Sore throat
  • Sudden onset of throat pain
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tonsillar erythema (redness of the tonsils)
  • Tonsillar exudate (presence of pus on the tonsils)
  • Rash (scarlet fever, in some cases)
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