Strep throat is a common contagious disease that affects many children each year. The disease is the product of the bacteria known as Streptococcus. This bacteria lives in the nose and the throat. You get sick by being in contact with someone who is ill with strep A bacteria or is a carrier of it. Much like other infections, the bacteria spreads through close contact via coughing and sneezing. It is even possible to infect yourself by touching something sneezed upon by a person with the infection. Swelling and inflammation of the back of the throat and tonsils are the most common signs, and the disease can lead to serious health problems if not treated promptly. However, what if it keeps coming back? A new research study is tackling that question.
Most sore throats result from viruses and not by the Streptococcus bacteria. However, group A Streptococcal bacterium is the culprit for strep throat. Strep throat is typically not associated with a cough, runny nose, or congestion. Although antibiotics will not help viral infections, they do treat strep throat. Strep throat is common in areas where people are in close quarters especially during the winter months. Symptoms of strep throat include the following:
Swollen red tonsils
Red spots on the area in back of the throat
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Nausea and vomiting
A New Study
New research suggests that recurrent strep throat is the product of immunological factors combining with genetic susceptibility. The researchers believe that a combination between immunological component and genetics exists. An understanding of why particular children fail to develop this protective immunity may help in the development of a vaccine to protect these children against strep throat.
For an understanding of why some children endure repeat bouts of strep throat, the team turned to the tonsils for study. The researchers gathered tonsil tissue from a group of children ages 5 to 18 who had tonsils removed because of repeated bouts of strep throat or who had tonsillectomies for issues such as sleep apnea. The tonsils of children with recurrent tonsillitis had a decrease in the frequency of B and follicular helper T cells, and have a smaller germinal center. Among the children with recurrent tonsillitis, the researchers found that the disease is likely to have a genetic component and run in the family.
The immunological and genetic connection occurs as an insufficient antibody response against SpeA. This strongly suggests that recognition of this factor is the critical problem for kids with recurrent strep throat. The researchers believe that a vaccine that can teach the immune system in advance might stimulate a protective immune response that will prevent recurring strep throat.
Keep It From Spreading
The new research is undoubtedly great news for those children with recurrent bouts of strep throat. You can take steps to keep strep throat from spreading:
Do not let your child share cups, dishes, forks, or other personal items with anyone sick.
Request that your child covers their mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Make sure everyone in your house washes hands or uses hand sanitizer.