“Strep” Throat, Bacterial Pharyngitis
General Description: A frequently painful and debilitating pharyngitis and exudative tonsillitis, with associated swollen lymph nodes and fever, caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. The bacteria is exquisitely sensitive to penicillin and other antibiotics; clinical improvement in symptoms occurs rapidly after initiation of therapy. Relatively rare complications of “strep” throat are scarlet fever, rheumatic valvular heart disease, and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which occur most frequently in children.
Mode of Transmission: Droplet spread or direct person-to-person contact.
Efficiency of Transmission/Attack Rate: Unclear; asymptomatic carriage of Streptococcus pyogenes ranges from 5 to 20%.
Period of Communicability: Untreated “strep” throat is infectious for 10 to 12 days; after 24 hours on appropriate antibiotic therapy, the patient is no longer considered infectious.
Effect on LEO Fitness for Duty: The pain and systemic manifestations of strep throat can affect stamina, agility, and situational awareness. LEOs with strep pharyngitis should assess their functional status before reporting for duty.
LEO-specific Clinical Studies and Reports: None known.