Streptococcal tonsillitis: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Streptococcal pharyngitis, also called strep throat.

It is an infection of the throat and tonsils caused by streptococcal bacteria . Typical symptoms are sore throat, chills, fever and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Streptococcal pharyngitis is cured by antibiotic treatment.


Most sore throats are caused by viruses, most commonly the cold or flu virus. A viral sore throat usually improves on its own and has a low probability of complications.

A sore throat in children that is accompanied by headache, high fever, stomach pain, vomiting and / or severe tiredness, with or without a red rash, indicates the need for a visit to a primary care physician. the family.

The strep throat is contagious and is spread by close contact with an infected person, usually by inhaling airborne droplets from an infected person.

The conditions of life of the first trimester in a family house, in the school and the university shelters, provide an ideal environment for the transmission of sore throatfrom one person to another. There is an approximate risk of 40% of streptococcal pharyngitis of a member of the infected family.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of strep throat develop one to four days after exposure to the bacteria through droplets in the air or through direct contact with an infected person.

Other symptoms include:

  • Chills and fever
  • Inflamed and sensitive glands (lymph nodes) on the sides of the neck
  • Red, inflamed appearance inside the throat
  • Patches or white or yellow patches like pus may be visible on the back of the throat and tonsils
  • Headache, nausea and vomiting may also be present.
  • Complications

Potential complications of untreated strep throat infection include middle ear infection (otitis media), sinus infection (sinusitis), pneumonia, meningitis, kidney disease, and rheumatic fever. Of these, rheumatic fever and kidney disease are the most worrisome.

The most serious consequence of rheumatic fever is that the inflammation that affects the heart can cause the healing of the valves of the heart, which requires a heart valve replacement surgery.

It usually occurs one to three weeks after a strep throat infection, and usually resolves on its own after several days without causing long-term damage to the kidneys. Children are at higher risk of developing this condition after strep throat. Symptoms may include blood in the urine, swelling of the ankles and swollen eyes.


The diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis is important because antibiotic treatment must be started in the first 48 hours, since it reduces the duration of symptoms, reduces the risk of rheumatic fever and kidney disease and reduces the risk of transmission of the disease. Illness to other people.

Although throat culture is the ultimate test for a strep throat infection, the results usually take 24-48 hours to return to the GP. A rapid antigen detection test (RADT) consists of taking a swab from the throat and tonsils. Although RADT can provide results in a matter of minutes, it is not as accurate as a throat culture.


Due to the possibility of serious complications, throat infections should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. Antibiotics are used to treat strep throat, which include the following:

Penicillin V: taken by mouth and is the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for streptococcal pharyngitis.

Amoxicillin: is an alternative to oral penicillin useful because, unlike penicillin V, it can be administered with food, which can help people remember to take all their doses.

Penicillin G benzathine A: administered with a single intramuscular injection and can be used in patients who can not take penicillin by mouth or it is not possible to complete the oral course of 10 days.

Erythromycin acetate Succinate: is an alternative to oral antibiotics suitable for people who are allergic to penicillin.