According to a UMMC press release, there are millions of cases of strep throat yearly, and it rarely causes severe illness. However, the infamous sore throat symptom could indicate the need for a test. Dr. William Moskowitz, chief of UMMC’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology and co-director of the Children’s Heart Center, believes untreated strep throat could lead to permanent complications.
“Timely and complete treatment for strep throat can keep a child’s healthy heart from the risk of becoming damaged,” Moskowitz said.
School-aged children and adults in contact with them, adults with pre-existing medical conditions, and older adults are at increased risk for infection stemming from Group A strep (GAS).
CDC officials anticipated this rise of GAS among children in late 2022. This follows a dip in infections caused by GAS during the pandemic. Dr. Charlotte Hobbs, professor of pediatric infectious diseases at UMMC, believes an increase in healthy practices from 2020 helps explain trends seen then and now.
“During peak COVID periods, people were being more careful in washing their hands and practicing good hygiene. Indeed, this is the best way to reduce GAS transmission,” Hobbs said in the press release.
To help prevent getting GAS or any strain of strep, UMMC officials recommend ensuring injuries remain clean and disinfected and being on top of influenza and chicken pox vaccinations. Both illnesses can make contracting strep A more likely.