- GAS bacteria are spread through direct contact with mucus from the nose or throat of persons who are infected.
- GAS can also be spread through contact with infected wounds or sores on the skin of infected persons.
- Persons who are sick with GAS (i.e. strep throat, skin infection etc.) are most likely to spread the GAS to others. Those who carry the bacteria but have no symptoms are much less contagious.
- It is not likely that household items (i.e. toys, door knobs) spread GAS bacteria.
- With proper antibiotic treatment, a person can stop being contagious within 24 hours. However, it is important to complete the entire antibiotic treatment as ordered by your health care provider.
Signs & Symptoms
GAS Infection can cause different symptoms depending on what part of the body is infected. Some illnesses can be:
- No illness (carry the bacteria but have no symptoms)
- Mild illness (most common) such as sore throat (strep) or a skin infection (impetigo, pyoderma)
- Serious illness such as scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, cellulitis or pneumonia
- Severe illness (invasive GAS) such as disease of the blood (toxic shock syndrome), disease of the muscle or fat (necrotizing fasciitis) or disease of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
Who is most at risk of getting invasive GAS?
Very few people who come in contact with GAS bacteria will develop invasive GAS disease. Although healthy people can get invasive GAS disease, those at higher risk include:
- the elderly
- those living in a group-setting
- those with chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes and kidney dialysis