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Strep Throat (cont.)

Strep Throat Complications

Acute rheumatic fever: A serious complication of strep throat in which antibodies from the body's immune response to the untreated infection mistakenly attack joints, skin, and the heart. Damage to the heart valves and heart muscle can lead to congestive heart failure. This condition is now less common in the United States after the widespread use of antibiotics, though outbreaks still occur. Symptoms generally develop about 2 to 4 weeks after the onset of strep throat.

Abscess formation: A collection of pus (abscess) can develop around the tonsils (peritonsillar abscess) or at the back of the throat (retropharyngeal abscess). These conditions require antibiotics and frequently drainage of the pus.

Poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis: This condition is thought to be an immune-mediated disease following infection with certain strains of Group A Streptococcus. It is most common in children between 2 to 12 years of age, and leads to kidney damage which frequently improves with treatment.

Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome: A rare and potentially life-threatening illness caused by toxins released by Group A Streptococcus. Low blood pressure, fever, and rash can occur, with the potential for multi-organ failure.

Scarlet fever: A disease that can occur in some individuals with strep throat, who in addition to having fever and sore throat, also develop a characteristic red rash (that feels like sandpaper). It is usually seen in children younger than 18 years of age and it responds well to antibiotics.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/12/2016
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