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Group A hemolytic streptococcus: pathogen and clinical presentation


Group A streptococcal infection is caused by a bacterium in the shape of a string of round balls that belongs to the group A serotype of the various streptococcus varieties. Group A streptococcal infections are also called hemolytic streptococcal infections.

Clinical presentation

The patient develops a sudden fever of 38℃ or higher accompanied by a sore throat. A red rash appears on the skin, and the patient may develop a red tongue with spots making it look like a strawberry (known as "strawberry tongue"). In severe cases, group A hemolytic streptococcus can cause a variety of diseases such as pharyngitis (strep throat), tonsillitis, impetigo*1 in addition to the usual skin rash, cellulitis,*2 middle ear inflammation, pneumonia, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, and meningitis. Group A hemolytic streptococcus is also known as a causative bacterium of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, which causes tissue necrosis (death of tissue) and shock.

  1. *1Impetigo: a general term for skin diseases whose predominant symptoms are pustules (pus-filled blisters on the skin) and scabs.
  2. *2Cellulitis: causes inflammation and swelling of skin tissue, and is associated with redness and pain. If it festers, pus swells up from several locations as if it were a beehive.

If you have these symptoms, it is important to get checked at a hospital as soon as possible.