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What is strep throat?

Strep throat (also called streptococcal pharyngitis or strep tonsillitis) is an infection caused by bacteria in the back of the throat. This infection usually happens in the tonsils (small glands on either side of the throat). In most cases, strep throat happens after a person comes into close contact with a person who currently has strep throat.

Who can catch strep throat?

Babies and children age 2 and older can catch strep throat. Babies under age 2 rarely get strep throat.

What are the symptoms of strep throat?

Symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sore throat (especially with swallowing)
  • Fever
  • Headache or stomachache
  • Rash on the back, chest or arms (sometimes called scarlet fever)
  • Swollen or painful glands in the front of the neck under the jaw
Rev. 4/2018. Reviewed by the MGHfC Family Advisory Council.