As a type of throat infection, strep throat most often affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. Although people often get a sore throat, a throat infection is identified and defined as strep throat when it is caused by a specific type of bacteria known as group A streptococcus bacteria (also known as GAS or Streptococcus pyogenes).
Symptoms can include fever, white patches of pus on the back of the throat, and a red and painful throat that begins suddenly. A cough and/or runny nose do not usually occur in someone with strep throat. It is also uncommon for someone with strep throat to have a sore throat for more than one week.
Treatment typically involves antibiotics. For adults, the antibiotic of choice for treating strep throat is penicillin, while children are usually prescribed amoxicillin. Within 24 hours of starting antibiotics, a person's temperature should drop. After two or three days, other symptoms of strep throat should start to improve.
(Click Strep Throat for a more in-depth definition of this throat infection. This article includes information on how it is diagnosed, how common it is among adults and children, and how to prevent it.)
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: ArthurSchoenstadt, MD
List of references (click here):
Stevens DL. Streptococcus pyogenes Infections. In: Internal Medicine. 4th ed. Stein, JH (Ed), Mosby, St. Louis:1994, p. 2078.
Carroll K, Reimer L. Microbiology and laboratory diagnosis of upper respiratory tract infections. Clin Infect Dis 1996;23:442.
Snellman LW, Stang HJ, Stang JM, et al. Duration of positive throat cultures for group A streptococci after initiation of antibiotic therapy. Pediatrics 1993;91:1166.
Bisno AL, Gerber MA, Gwaltney JM, et al. Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis. Clin Infect Dis 2002;35:113.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Group A Streptococcal infections. In: Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 28th ed. Pickering, LK (Ed), American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village (IL). 2009, p. 616.
eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind.
Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click