Can Laryngitis Be Caused By Strep Throat?
Strep throat or pharyngitis is an acute inflammation of the mucosa of the oropharynx; located behind the mouth extending from the lower edge of the soft palate to the upper edge of the epiglottis (the existing membrane in the union of the pharynx with the trachea and that closes the passage of food to the respiratory system).
The affected area is very susceptible to be infected by germs, because it is part of both the digestive and the respiratory tract.
Inflammation occurs for many causes. Among them, it is worth noting the consumption of irritating substances such as tobacco or alcohol, which alters the mucosa cells; the low environmental temperature, which cause a cooling of the inspired air, or simply due to the massive infection of germs, weakening the immune system.
Depending on the cause of the inflammation, infectious pharyngitis and noninfectious pharyngitis are differentiated (production due to allergies, irritants, environment dryness, trauma, etc.).
For physicians to prescribe an antibiotic therapy, it is necessary to make a differential diagnosis between those of viral or bacterial origin. It is difficult to distinguish them only with the physical examination, so in some cases analytical analyzes are carried out on the pharyngeal secretion and the procedure to its culture, which takes between 48 and 72 hours.
Pharyngitis caused by viruses has a seasonal incidence and are established gradually. The incubation period ranges from 1 to 3 days and affects at any age. The first thing that appears is the sensation of fatigue and chills, followed by the sequence of the throat with mild pain that, although not very intense, hinders swallowing. Fever may appear, although it never exceeds 38° C. Other symptoms, not always present, are typical of the cold, acute rhinitis and the presence of aphthae in the mouth and pharynx. The responsible viruses are adenovirus, rhinovirus, coxsackie A virus, influenza virus, parainfluenza and coronavirus, among others. In general, they are mild and self-limited processes, although they can be complicated if bacterial infection follows.
Bacterial pharyngitis appears at any time of the year in the form of small epidemics and is abruptly established. High fever appears above 38 ° C up to 40 ° C, accompanied by very intense pain that makes it difficult to swallow food and the passage of saliva. The pain can radiate towards the ear, producing “otalgias” (ear pain). It presents with malaise and the appearance of headaches, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In addition to the redness and swelling of the mucosa, yellowish-white plaques are observed on the posterior wall of the band and the swollen lymph nodes. The contagion occurs easily through droplets of saliva that can be expelled when speaking or coughing; therefore, it is very common at school age, when children have very close contact.
Streptococcus group A is the most common bacterial cause of acute pharyngitis, responsible for 5 to 15% of consultations by sore throat in adults and 20 to 30% in children. The safe diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis followed by appropriate antimicrobial treatment is important for: preventing acute rheumatic fever and suppurative complications (periamigdal abscesses, cervical lymphadenitis, mastoiditis and, possibly, other invasive infections; improving symptoms and signs, achieve rapid decrease of germ spread, reduce the transmission of Streptococcus group A to family members, classmates and other close contacts of the patient, allow rapid resumption of usual activities and minimize adverse effects potentials of the appropriate antimicrobial treatment.
Due to the general increase in antibiotic resistance rates, antimicrobial therapy should be indicated only in episodes of confirmed Streptococcus group A pharyngitis. In the vast majority of children and adults with acute pharyngitis, the etiology is viral and does not need antibiotic treatment, even during the peak months.
Laryngitis cannot be caused by strep throat because in the case of bacterial agents stand out Mycoplasma pneumoniae, that besides of producing pneumonia can cause an associated laryngotracheitis, and also Corynebacterium diphtheriae toxins which originate Diphtheritic laryngitis.
As previously mentioned, pharyngitis can complicate with acute rheumatic fever and suppurative complications (periamigdal abscesses, cervical lymphadenitis, mastoiditis).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – “Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease” Link: https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/index.html Summary: The CDC provides information on Group A Streptococcus (Strep) and its potential association with pharyngitis and other infections.
- Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal – “Acute Rheumatic Fever and Streptococci: The Achilles Heel of the Developing World” Link: https://journals.lww.com/pidj/fulltext/2008/01001/Acute-Rheumatic-Fever-and-Streptococci-The.2.aspx Summary: This article discusses the potential complications of streptococcal pharyngitis, including acute rheumatic fever.
- PubMed – “Mycoplasma pneumoniae and its role as a human pathogen” Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25685399/ Summary: This research paper explores the role of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, including its potential to cause laryngotracheitis.
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