Strep Throat: Symptoms, Causes, Risks, Complications, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Prognosis

man with Strep Throat

1. Overview

Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat caused by streptococcal (strep) bacteria. As a result, the infection will make your throat feel scratchy, sore and painful.
However, strep throat just accounts for a small portion of sore throats. If this is left untreated, this condition may lead to more serious conditions.

Strep throat is one of the most common throat infections among children, but it can affect other people of all ages.  There are two types of Streptococcus bacteria – Group A and Group B. Group A Streptococci (GAS) is common, and it causes strep throat and other infections such as cellulitis, impetigo, toxic shock syndrome and scarlet fever.

On the other hand, Group B Streptococci causes bacterial infections such as pneumonia, blood infections, and potentially-fatal meningitis, or the inflammation of the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and the brain.

In most cases, a sore throat is usually caused by a virus. However, approximately 15 percent of all sore throats are caused by Streptococcus bacteria. It’s common between the ages of 5 and 15 years old and in babies less than three years old; a strep throat usually develops into otitis media or a middle ear infection.