Strep Throat Complications
Complications of Reference strep throat Opens New Window are rare but can occur, especially if strep throat is not properly treated with antibiotics. Complications can be related either to the strep infection or to the body's Reference immune response Opens New Window to the infection.
Complications related to the strep infection
Although rare, complications can result from the strep infection spreading to other areas of the body. Infection can spread to the:
- Middle ear (Reference otitis media Opens New Window).
- Sinuses (Reference sinusitis Opens New Window).
Other, more rare, complications include:
- Infection behind the pharynx (Reference retropharyngeal abscess Opens New Window).
- Infection of the Reference lymph nodes Opens New Window of the neck.
- A Reference peritonsillar abscess Opens New Window.
- Reference Toxic shock syndrome Opens New Window.
Complications related to the body's immune response to strep bacteria
Sometimes in response to a strep infection, the body's immune system will attack healthy tissues, causing complications such as Reference rheumatic fever Opens New Window, inflammation of the kidneys (Reference glomerulonephritis Opens New Window), or pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (Reference PANDAS Opens New Window).
- In rare cases, untreated strep may progress to rheumatic fever. Antibiotic therapy begun as late as 9 days after the start of a strep infection will prevent rheumatic fever.Reference 1
- Glomerulonephritis may occur after infection with certain strains of strep bacteria. These infections may include a strep infection of the skin (such as Reference impetigo Opens New Window), usually during the summer months, or the throat (such as strep throat), usually during the winter months. The condition is relatively rare and goes away without treatment. But some complications may require treatment. Treatment of strep infection may not prevent inflammation of the kidneys.
- PANDAS is a term used to describe what happens with some children who have symptoms of certain disorders that get worse following infections such as strep throat or Reference scarlet fever Opens New Window. The disorders whose symptoms get worse include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorders such as Tourette's syndrome.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 2, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology