Doctor's Notes on Group A Strep (GAS) Infection
Group A strep (GAS), also called Streptococcus pyogenes or group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus, is a gram-positive coccus (spherical bacteria) that is abundant, highly contagious, and spread primarily through person-to-person (skin-to-skin) contact and via respiratory droplets, as the human skin and mucous membranes are the only known reservoir for GAS. Upper respiratory tract (pharyngitis) infections and skin infections (cellulitis) with GAS are among the most common bacterial infections.
Symptoms of group A strep (GAS) infection include tonsillopharyngitis include sore throat, fever, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, enlarged tonsils, rash, pus collections on the tonsils, tiny red spots on the palate, headache, abdominal pain. Symptoms of group A strep (GAS) infection can include skin diseases such as impetigo, erysipelas, and necrotizing fasciitis. The main symptom of GAS impetigo is a blistering or infected lesion, the destruction or irritation of which results in the development of a coating described as honey crusting. Symptoms of erysipelas include skin redness, hardening, tenderness, a raised, sharply demarcated border, and a consistency often compared to that of an orange peel. Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include marked tissue destruction in the deep fascial layers of the skin, fever and severe pain.
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CellulitisCellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissues that causes swelling, redness, tenderness and warmth. Treatment will involve antibiotics. Severe infection may require IV or intramuscular antibiotic injections.
ImpetigoImpetigo is a common baterial infection of the skin. The bacteria enter through a cut or other injury to the skin. Symptoms and signs include rash and/or pus-filled blisters. Treatments include oral and/or topical antibiotics.
Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh-Eating Disease)Necrotizing fasciitis is a disease caused by flesh-eating bacteria. Symptoms and signs include pain, localized redness, warmth, and swelling, along with possible fever and chills. Over hours to days, the redness spreads rapidly, and the skin may become purplish in color. Treatment of necrotizing fasciitis should begin immediately. Treatment includes antibiotics and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Rheumatic Fevera fever that appears one to five weeks after a strep throat diagnosis, joint swelling, heart problems, Sydenham's chorea, and erythema marginatum. After an individual has been treated with penicillin for strep throat, a heart ultrasound may be performed to check if the heart is being infected by rheumatic fever. Ibuprofen or prednisone may be administered to stop the attack on the organs affected by rheumatic fever.
Strep ThroatStrep throat is a disease caused by infection with streptococcal bacteria. Strep throat is contagious. Strep throat symptoms include fever, pain, redness, and swelling of the throat and tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, white or yellow patches on the back of the throat. Treatment for strep throat includes home remedies to sooth symptoms such as throat lozenges, OTC medications, herbal teas to sooth the throat, and hydration. Medical treatment for strep throat includes antibiotics to prevent complications.
Toxic Shock SyndromeToxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare, life-threatening illness that is caused by toxins (poisons) that circulate in the bloodstream. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, sore throat, cough, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Treatment involves finding and removing the source of infection, IV antibiotics, IV fluids, correcting electrolytes, and monitoring kidney and liver functions.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.