Why invasive cases are increasing, how it spreads and what symptoms to look for

Why Invasive Cases are Increasing, How it Spreads, and What Symptoms to Look For

Why Invasive Cases are Increasing, How it Spreads, and What Symptoms to Look For

Strep A, also known as Streptococcus pyogenes, is a bacterium that can cause a range of infections in humans. While most cases of Strep A infections are mild, there has been an increase in invasive cases in recent years. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this increase, how Strep A spreads, and the symptoms to watch out for.

Why are Invasive Cases of Strep A Increasing?

The rise in invasive cases of Strep A can be attributed to several factors. One of the main reasons is the emergence of new strains of the bacterium that are more virulent and resistant to antibiotics. These strains can cause severe infections that can spread rapidly throughout the body, leading to life-threatening conditions such as necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

Additionally, changes in population demographics and behaviors have contributed to the increase in invasive cases. Overcrowding, poor hygiene practices, and close contact in communal settings like schools, prisons, and healthcare facilities can facilitate the transmission of Strep A. Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly and those with chronic illnesses, are also more susceptible to invasive Strep A infections.

How Does Strep A Spread?

Strep A is primarily spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be transmitted through direct contact with infected skin or by touching surfaces contaminated with the bacterium. Sharing personal items like towels, utensils, or drinking glasses with an infected individual can also lead to transmission.

It is important to note that not everyone who carries Strep A bacteria will develop an infection. Some individuals may be asymptomatic carriers, meaning they carry the bacterium without showing any signs of illness. However, they can still spread the bacteria to others.

What Symptoms Should You Look For?

Strep A infections can manifest in various ways, depending on the type of infection. Common symptoms of Strep A throat infections (strep throat) include:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Red and swollen throat
  • Tender lymph nodes in the neck

Invasive Strep A infections, on the other hand, can cause more severe symptoms such as:

  • Fever and chills
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Severe pain and swelling at the site of infection
  • Redness and warmth around the infected area
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. Strep A infections can be diagnosed through laboratory tests, and early treatment with antibiotics is crucial to prevent complications.


Invasive cases of Strep A infections are on the rise, primarily due to the emergence of more virulent strains and changes in population demographics and behaviors. Understanding how Strep A spreads and recognizing the symptoms can help in early detection and prompt treatment. By practicing good hygiene, maintaining a healthy immune system, and seeking medical attention when necessary, we can reduce the incidence of invasive Strep A infections and protect ourselves and our communities.