April 15, 2024

Strep A: Signs, Symptoms & How It’s Linked To Toxic Shock Syndrome

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has confirmed an increase in infections of Strep A this year, particularly among those under the age of 10.

In recent weeks, diseases caused by Strep A bacteria have claimed the lives of nine children in the UK.

Whilst Strep A can lead to life-threatening conditions, its bacteria is commonly found in our bodies and can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Scarlet fever is amongst the illnesses caused by a Strep A bacterial infection.

The UKHSA recently reported statistics showing 23,000 cases of scarlet fever documented in 2022 thus far, whilst in 2021 there were just 2,323 in the same period.

Common symptoms to look out for include; a sore throat, chills, a fever and muscle aches.

GLAMOUR asked GP and Medical Director at Flo Health, Dr. Claudia Pastides, on what Strep A really is, how serious it can become, how to prevent it from spreading and how it’s related to toxic shock syndrome.

What is Strep A?

Strep A (also known as Group A Streptococcus), are bacteria commonly found in the throat or on the skin. Under some circumstances, these bacteria can cause diseases such as tonsillitis, a sore throat and scarlet fever. These conditions are treatable with antibiotics and are usually mild.

How serious is the illness/ how serious can it get?

On very rare occasions, Strep A can cause invasive Group A strep (iGAS) infections. iGAS infections include conditions such as necrotising fasciitis (a severe infection of the skin), infection of the bloodstream and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (a rare life-threatening condition caused by the bacteria’s toxins). In rare cases, iGAS can lead to death.

How can it be spread/ how contagious is Strep A?

GAS are spread by close contact with others. It is spread through respiratory droplets when people talk or are close together and also by direct skin contact.

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