Fatal cases of strep throat in Illinois

ST. LOUIS — Two Illinois children have died of strep throat infections in the past month.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) warns that more cases of “group A” strep have been reported in the first three months of 2023 than in any of the past five years. The department also reports that COVID and strep cases are on the rise in the state of Illinois.

In the wake of the recent fatal cases of strep, concerns are high across the state. Our Peoria, Illinois, NBC affiliate spoke with health experts about deadly strep infections in children.

“It’s not very common for group A strep to cause death. It’s very easily treated on an outpatient basis,” Brian Curtis, vice president of OSF Healthcare, told 25 News.

Group A strep is one of the most common forms of infection and spreads rapidly among school-aged children. But if treated with antibiotics, the infection can clear up in about 10 days.

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Common symptoms of group A strep throat include a sore, red throat, swollen tonsils with white spots, or fever.

But, reports the National Institute of Health, the infection can also lead to other more serious conditions such as:

Parents need to watch any of these symptoms closely and not let their guard down.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood told 25 News that strep infections can impact each child differently, especially children with underlying health conditions.

“You can take very, very healthy children, introduce them to the strep infection, and they’re going to react differently. One child may do exceptionally well with antibiotic treatment, the other may progress more slowly. They all may both recover and become very healthy. . They could evolve into something worse,” Harwood said.

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