|MadSci Network: Microbiology|
Strep throat is caused by a certain strain of bacteria called beta- hemolytic, Group A Streptococcus pyogenes. These bacteria normal inhabitants of our mouths and throat. These bacteria usually do not cause any problems because their numbers may be limited by competition with other microbes and reaction with our non-specific host defenses / immunity. However, conditions may arise that change the normal environment in our mouths and throats. These conditions can include: viral infections, stress, or other medical conditions that change the mix of our normal flora. These changes may allow the number of these strep bacteria to increase. As the number of these microbes increase, the actual sore throat or pharyngitis is due to proteins produced by the bacteria that damage local cells and cause the host to respond with an inflammatory response. Routinely, confirmed cases of strep throat are treated with antibiotics.
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