We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Streptococcal Infection?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Feb 24, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

It is difficult to discuss streptococcal infection without first making it clear that there are many types of strep bacteria. Those most commonly causing illness in children (not newborns) and adults include what is known as Group A strep (GAS) or Streptococcal pyogenes. Another type of streptococcal infection often most dangerous to newborns is Group B strep (GBS) or S. agalactiae. Some other forms of streptococcal infections may be caused by other groups of strep bacteria and may be more commonly found on animals but won’t typically affect humans.

It’s thus important to understand that streptococcal infection can mean much more than a bout of the common strep throat, or its complication, scarlet fever. Instead, GAS can result in many different types of infections and affect many different parts of the body. It would be fair to state that some of the following areas could be affected by streptococcal infection with GAS:

  • Lungs
  • Skin
  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Ears
  • Blood stream
  • Reproductive system, vagina or anus
  • Cardiac system
  • Mouth

Group B streptococcal infection is most commonly associated with infection in newborns, particularly in causing certain types of pneumonia. It may also cause pneumonia in people who are elderly or who have suppressed immune systems. Method of transmission for babies tends to occur if a mother harbors this bacteria in the vagina or anus, and she may have no outward sign that she has this form of strep.

Many obstetricians now routinely look for Group B strep and may treat a laboring mom with intravenous antibiotics to prevent this streptococcal infection in newborns. Though babies who develop Group B strep may recover with treatment, there still exists an alarming 3% death rate associated with this infection, and it is most dangerous to babies born prematurely. A mom who labors quickly and doesn’t have time for at least four hours of IV antibiotics before delivering may be able to prevent this infection by having a Cesarean section instead.

There are numerous species of strep that can cause infection. What’s complicated about some of these is that they have been reclassified into other groups of bacteria as strep has been more closely studied and understood. For most people, with the exception of infants, the greatest danger comes from streptococcal infection of the GAS type. Most serious forms of these infections invade the blood stream and become systemic. They will require extensive treatment with intravenous antibiotics, and some forms are increasingly antibiotic resistant. The average, and certainly one of the most common strep infections may simply be the classic strep throat, which is usually easily treated with a course of antibiotics.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.