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symptoms, treatments and how to prevent it

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symptoms, treatments and how to prevent it

In recent months the incidence of Streptococcus infections appears to have increased. In addition to the warning coming from Japan, an increase in cases has also been recorded in Italy and other European countries. Let’s see what Streptococcus is and what the implications are for public and individual health.


What is Streptococcus?

Streptococcus is indicated a genus of spherical-shaped gram-positive bacteria, belonging to the Streptococcaceae family. Some species of Streptococcus are harmless and normally live in our bodies, such as in the throat or on the skin, while others can cause diseases, some of which are very serious. One of the most common variants is group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes), responsible for many throat infections.

Streptococcus A, the Policlinico and Humanitas study in Milan

What are the symptoms and the main diseases it causes

Streptococcus can cause several diseases, including streptococcal pharyngitis (tonsillitis), scarlet fever, impetigo, bronchitis, pneumonia, and more serious infections such as sepsis and meningitis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of infection, but commonly include sore throat, fever, abdominal pain, rash, cough, and difficulty breathing. In adults and very young children, streptococcus often remains asymptomatic or is limited to a sore throat; However, children between 5 and 15 years of age are at greatest risk of developing complications. In elderly people, cold-like symptoms may appear, which rarely progress to tonsillitis, pneumonia and meningitis. In the most serious cases, organ failure and necrosis occurs.

Since there are many subgroups, this bacterium can be contracted numerous times; However, once the infection has been contracted, there will be no permanent immunity. There is currently no specific vaccine against Streptococcus, however research is underway but it is a process that requires time and resources.

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How it is transmitted and what precautions to take

Streptococcus it is transmitted mainly through direct contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person, such as coughing or sneezing. It can also spread through contact with contaminated objects. To prevent Strep infection, it is important to practice good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with sick people, and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

Because cases of infection are increasing

There are several reasons behind the current increase in cases of Streptococcus infection. First of all, seasonality. Streptococcal infections are more common during the colder months of the year, when people tend to spend more time indoors and close to other people, favoring the transmission of the bacterium. Antibiotic resistance: Streptococcus can become resistant to antibiotics if treated inappropriately or incompletely. This can make infections harder to treat and potentially more persistent. Lack of hygiene: A lack of personal hygiene, including regular hand washing, can promote the spread of the bacterium.

The diagnosis

The diagnosis of a Streptococcus infection is performed via a throat swab which will give the answer within a few minutes. Cold-like symptoms may appear in older people, which rarely progress to tonsillitis, pneumonia and meningitis. In the most serious cases, organ failure and necrosis occurs.


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