• Strep Infections: Strep Throat, Scarlet Fever & Impetigo

    Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may be carriers of group A streptococci and have no symptoms of illness. Most GAS infections are relatively mild, illnesses such as "strep throat," or impetigo. On rare occasions, these bacteria can cause other severe and life-threatening diseases.

    These bacteria are spread through direct contact with mucus from the nose or throat of persons who are infected or through contact with infected wounds or sores on the skin. Ill persons, with strep throat or skin infections, are highly contagious. Persons who carry the bacteria but have no symptoms are less contagious. Treatment with antibiotics for 24 hours or longer generally eliminates the spread of the bacteria.

    If your child develops any of these symptoms, please consult your child's health care provider and notify your child's school/day care. School policy permits a child with this infection to return to school after 24 hours of antibiotics, providing they're feeling well. It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed.

    Control of this illness is by prompt identification and treatment of infected individuals.

    CAUSATIVE AGENT: Streptococcus Bacteria of at least 60 different types, A is the most common in children.



    Strep throat: Red and painful sore throat with white patches on their tonsils.A person may also have swollen lymph nodes, fever >99 F., and headache. Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can occur but are more common in children than in adults.

    Impetigo: Skin lesions. Symptoms start with red pimple-like sores lesions can appear anywhere on the body, but are found mostly on the face, arms, and legs. Lesions fill with pus, then break open after a few days and form a thick crust. Itching is common. The healthcare provider can diagnose the infection by looking at the skin lesions. *(see below for more details)


    Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina): fine body rash, peeling feet and hands that accompany above symptoms.

    Other Severe Strep. Infections: These are very rare, Bacteremia (blood stream infections), Toxic Shock Syndrome, Necrotizing Fasciitis.


    INCUBATION PERIOD: Within 3 days after exposure.

    COMMUNICABILITY: Once infected, a person can pass the infection to others for up to 2 to 3 weeks even if they don't have symptoms. After 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, a person will no longer spread the bacteria to others.

    METHOD TRANSMISSION: Group A strep. Infections are spread by direct contact with saliva or nasal discharge of infected persons. It's usually not spread by casual contact with others, but a crowded environment like a dormitory, school, or an institutional setting can make it easier for the bacteria to spread. There have also been reports of contaminated food, especially milk and milk products, causing infection. For more information contact:, your health care provider, your School Nurse, the Marin County Health Department, or: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/submenus/sub_streptococcus.htm


    Impetigo is an infection of the top layers of the skin and is most common among children ages 2 to 6 years. It usually starts when bacteria get into a cut, scratch, or insect bite.



    Impetigo is usually caused by staphylococcus (staph) bacteria, but it also can be caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. Skin infections are usually caused by different types (strains) of strep bacteria than those that cause strep throat. 

    Therefore, the types of strep germs that cause impetigo are usually different from those that cause strep throat.



    The infection is spread by direct contact with lesions (wounds or sores) or nasal discharge from an infected person.Scratching may spread the lesions. It usually takes 1 to 3 days from the time of infection until you show symptoms. If your skin doesn't have breaks in it, you can't be infected by dried strep bacteria in the air.



    Symptoms start with red or pimple-like lesions surrounded by reddened skin. These sores can be anywhere on your body, but mostly on your face, arms, and legs. The sores fill with pus, then break open after a few days and form a thick crust. Itching is common.



    Your healthcare provider can diagnose the infection by looking at the skin lesions.



    If your impetigo is caused by strep bacteria, your healthcare provider will prescribe oral antibiotics, as with strep throat. This treatment may also include an antibiotic ointment to be used on your skin.


    Definition: Strep throat is a bacterial infection that may causes fever, a sore throat, white spots in the throat and swelling of the lymph glands of the neck. Specific diagnosis of strep throat requires laboratory confirmation. 
    Incubation Period : Usually 1-3 days
    Exclusion:  The student may return to school 48 hours after starting on proper medication as long as there is no fever.  (Normal temp for 24 hours, without the aide of fever reducing medications)