4. If one child in my family has strep throat, is everyone going to get sick?
Other family members, including adults, can be infected by the bacteria. The doctor may test all family members who have sore throats and may test children under the age of 3. In most cases, it is not necessary to test other family members who do not have symptoms.
5. I've had strep throat before and was treated with antibiotics. Can I get it again?
Yes. Although antibodies may protect those who have had previous strep infections, there are so many different strains of this organism that being immune to all of them is unlikely. Therefore, someone could potentially get strep throat again and again. The best way to decrease the risk of transmission to others is to minimize close contact with others when ill and wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand scrub.
6. What is an ASO test and how is it used to detect a strep infection?
Antistreptolysin O (ASO) is a blood test used to help diagnose a current or past infection with group A strep (Streptococcus pyogenes). It detects antibodies to streptolysin O, one of the many strep antigens. This test is rarely ordered now compared to thirty years ago. For an acute strep throat infection, the ASO test is not helpful; the rapid strep test or throat culture should be used. However, if a doctor is trying to find out if someone had a recent strep infection that may not have been diagnosed, this test could be helpful. In addition, it may be used to help diagnose rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis, which occurs weeks after a strep throat infection when the rapid strep and throat culture would no longer be positive.
7. Do other group A streptococous infections occur?
Group A streptococcus can also cause infections that occur separately from strep throat, such as impetigo and, rarely, more invasive conditions such as toxic shock syndrome or necrotizing fasciitis (the so-called "flesh-eating bacteria").
8. Are there other types of streptococci that can cause a sore throat?
Group C and Group G streptococci, normally found in animals, can occasionally cause pharyngitis in humans. However, these bacteria do not pose a risk for the serious secondary complications associated with Group A streptococci. Antibiotic treatment for Group A streptococci will be effective against these organisms as well.
This article was last reviewed on November 19, 2012. | This article was last modified on March 28, 2014.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
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