A wave of contamination and deaths from a rare bacterium in the UK has caught the world’s attention: the group A Streptococcus bacterium, nicknamed Strep A, is responsible for scarlet fever and has already killed at least six children in the UK. country.
Most cases of strep A cause mild, flu-like symptoms. But in some cases, the disease can worsen and lead to hospitalization of the patient.
The most common signs of a strep A infection are:
- Skin Rash (red spots and lesions)
- Throat Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Swollen Staphylococcal Nodes
- High Temperature
- Ear Infection
According to the UK health service, the NHS, symptoms last for around a week. Some people infected with strep A do not show any signs of illness, but still transmit the bacteria responsible for the condition.
The incubation period for Strep A bacteria is two to five days. That is, a person who has been exposed to the bacteria will quickly get sick, with pain in the throat and other parts of the body. Between 12 and 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, the patient begins to develop skin patches that appear first in the chest area and spread throughout the body.
Another sign that can appear is the appearance of a white coating on the tongue, which after peeling it gives a reddish and swollen appearance to the muscle. The appearance is known as strawberry tongue, because small bumps also appear at the site.
Necrotizing fasciitis and strep toxic shock syndrome are the most serious but rare forms of the disease. Necrotizing fasciitis is also known as “flesh-eating disease” and can occur if the wound becomes infected. The symptoms are a high temperature of more than 38 ° C, severe pain, severe swelling and redness at the site of the cuts.
Toxic shock syndrome, in turn, causes fever, dizziness, confusion, abdominal pain, and hypotension. The condition progresses rapidly and can be fatal.
The NHS recommends that people see a doctor if their sore throat has not improved after a week, if they have a high fever or chills. People with weakened immune systems should also see a doctor.
How is Strep A Transmitted?
Streptococcus A is most common in children ages 5 to 15 and older. It is mainly transmitted in droplets by coughing, sneezing, speaking, and contact with infected skin lesions.
The bacteria can also be passed from person to person through close contact, such as kissing or skin-to-skin contact. In rare cases, Strep A bacteria can be found in poorly sterilized food.
Scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics and it is believed that 24 hours after drug treatment the bacteria is no longer transmissible. In severe cases, the disease must be treated in a hospital under medical supervision.