What causes strep throat?

Jennifer Logan, MD
Family Medicine
Strep throat is caused by a type of bacteria called group A streptococcus and accounts for 15% to 30% of all sore throats in children, though it is seen less frequently in adults.
Diana K. Blythe, MD
Strep throat is an infection of the throat caused by the bacteria called strep pyogenes. Much of the time this bacteria is spread by drinking from the same glass or siblings using the same utensil. Unfortunately, it can also be spread through droplets scattering when a person sneezes.
If you have exposure to someone with strep throat and develop sore throat, rash, or fever, make an appointment to be seen by your doctor.

The streptococcus bacteria (that of group A) are at fault for cases of strep throat. When an infected person coughs, talks, or sneezes, tiny droplets carrying these germs scatter in the air where you can inhale them. Even the droplets that fall on surfaces or objects can remain contagious up to several hours later, so you might transfer the germs to your mouth without even knowing it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.