ST. LOUIS — Two children in Illinois have died from strep throat infections over the past month.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) warns more cases of "Group A" strep have been reported in the first three months of 2023 than in any one of the past five years. The department also reports, COVID and strep cases are on the rise across the state of Illinois.
As a result of the recent fatal cases of strep, concerns are high across the state. Our Peoria, Illinois, NBC affiliate spoke with health experts about the fatal child strep infections.
"It's not very common to have Group A strep cause a mortality. It's very easily treated in the ambulatory setting," Brian Curtis, vice president of OSF Healthcare, told 25 News.
Group A strep is one of the most common forms of the infection and spreads quickly among school age children. But if treated with antibiotics, the infection can clear up in about 10 days.
Common Group A strep symptoms include a sore and red throat, swollen tonsils with white spots on them, or a fever.
But, the National Institute of Health reports, the infection can also lead to other, more serious, conditions such as:
- Scarlet fever – An illness that follows strep throat, and causes a red rash on the body.
- Impetigo – A skin infection
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Cellulitis – A skin and tissue infection or even a flesh-eating disease.
Parents need to keep a close eye out for any of these symptoms and not let their guard down.
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood told 25 News strep infections can impact each child differently, especially in children with underlying health conditions.
"You can take very, very healthy children, introduce the strep infection to them, and they are going to react differently. One child might do exceptionally well with the course of antibiotics, one might progress slower. They both might heal and become very healthy. They might progress to something worse," Harwood said.