How Is Strep Throat Spread?

Strep throat is caused by a specific type of bacteria (group A streptococcus) and is a contagious throat infection. But how is strep throat spread?
 
This infection is typically spread through contact with infected throat mucus, nasal discharge, or saliva. This can happen in one of a couple of different ways:
 
  • When a person infected with group A streptococcus sneezes or coughs, and infected droplets spray into the air. The infected mucus can land in another person's nose, throat, or eyes and enter their body.
     
  • By touching a surface or object that has infectious fluids on it. If a person touches their mouth, nose, or eyes after touching something that has these fluids, the bacteria can be passed on to that person.
     
After a person has become infected with group A streptococcus, he or she does not immediately have any signs or symptoms of strep throat. It generally takes about two to four days for symptoms to appear.
 
(For more information on how it is spread, click Strep Throat Transmission. This Web page explains how this bacterial infection is transmitted and how long symptoms typically last.)
 
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