Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can make your throat feel sore and scratchy. Strep throat accounts for only a small portion of sore throats. The bacterial cause is more common in children aged 3–13 years, but it affects people of all ages.
Strep throat is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, also called Group A streptococcus.
Streptococcal bacteria are contagious. They can spread through droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes or through shared food or drinks. You can also pick up the bacteria from a doorknob or other surface and transfer them to your nose, mouth, or eyes.
Spread of Infection: Strep bacteria may spread, causing disease in:
Inflammatory Reactions: Strep infection may lead to inflammatory illnesses, including:
Several factors can increase your risk of strep throat infection:
Signs and symptoms of strep throat can include:
The cause of these signs and symptoms could be a viral infection or some other illness.
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, check for signs and symptoms of strep throat, and most likely order one or more of the tests listed below:
Rapid Antigen Test: A swab sample from your throat may be used in a quick antigen test by your doctor. This test can detect strep bacteria in minutes by examining for substances (antigens) in the throat.
PCR Test: If the test is negative, but your doctor still suspects strep, a throat culture may be performed.
Throat Culture: To get a sample of the secretions, a sterile swab is rubbed over the back of the throat and tonsils. It's not painful, but it could make you gag. The sample is then cultured in a lab to see if bacteria are present.
Other tests such as Complete Blood Count (CBC) and blood film.
The diagnostic features are:
Indications for antibiotic therapy
Supportive symptomatic treatment:
To prevent strep infection:
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on Nov 14, 2023.