Streptococcal disease is caused by bacteria from the streptococcus ('strep') group of bacteria.
It's a common infection which typically causes minor problems that are treated with antibiotics. Examples of these include infections of the:
- throat, including tonsilitis
- skin, including impetigo (a skin infection most common in children, typically with red sores and a yellow crust) and cellulitis (typically red, hot, swollen skin)
- ear, often causing earache, fever, and hearing loss
- sinuses (facial cavities).
Streptococcus can also cause scarlet fever, a childhood illness that causes a distinctive pink-red rash.
It is rare for streptococcus to invade the body more deeply. However, when it does, streptococcus can cause:
- sepsis (a serious infection of the blood)
- toxic shock syndrome (toxins released into the blood causing fever, nausea and vomiting)
- a serious infection of the deeper layers of the skin causing severe pain and swelling.
Follow the links below to find trusted information about streptococcal disease.
Last reviewed: April 2017