What causes strep throat?

Strep throat is an infection caused by the bacterium streptococcus pyogenes, also commonly known as group A strep. In strep throat, the bacteria enter the patient's throat and multiply, causing an infection. This separates strep throat from many other sore throat varieties, because sore throats caused by something other than bacteria cannot be treated with antibiotics.  
The group A strep bacteria are highly contagious and can be spread from person to person easily. Direct contact with an infected person or an infected person's food, drink, or belongings can pass on the infection. The strep bacteria are also passed along through water droplets produced by coughs and sneezes. If you touch these water droplets, and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes you too may become infected.
It is very important to practice proper hygiene to prevent the spread of strep bacteria. Teaching children to wash their hands regularly and to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing will slow the spread of all types of pathogens. Also, avoiding sharing drinks and food with others will reduce the chances of catching strep throat from an infected person.
strep throat bacteria microscopic image

  • "CDC Features." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Jan. 2018, www.cdc.gov/features/strepthroat/index.html.
  • "Strep Throat." Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Jan. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/symptoms-causes/syc-20350338



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