Click to Translate to English Click to Translate to French  Click to Translate to Spanish  Click to Translate to German  Click to Translate to Italian  Click to Translate to Japanese  Click to Translate to Chinese Simplified  Click to Translate to Korean  Click to Translate to Arabic  Click to Translate to Russian  Click to Translate to Portuguese  Click to Translate to Myanmar (Burmese)

Forum Home Forum Home > Main Forums > General Discussion
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Not covid...but super interesting re: Strep A
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic since 2005; Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic Discussion Forum.

Not covid...but super interesting re: Strep A

 Post Reply Post Reply
Tabitha111 View Drop Down
Adviser Group
Adviser Group

Joined: January 11 2020
Location: Virginia
Status: Offline
Points: 7780
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Tabitha111 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Not covid...but super interesting re: Strep A
    Posted: June 05 2020 at 9:54am

I found this medical story in Pubmed email sent today super interesting! Always good to be well informed!!




When [the parents] and their 3 young children trooped into a Madison,

Wisconsin, urgent care clinic around 8 a.m. on New Year's Day 2018,

the staff didn't seem surprised to see them. The family had sought

treatment several times in the previous 2 months for recurrent strep

throat infections. They had taken multiple rounds of drugs,

professionally deep cleaned their home, and replaced contaminated

toothbrushes, but none of it worked for long. Inevitably, the

infection came roaring back.

That New Year's Day, rapid tests showed that [the mother] and all 3

children had strep; [the father] did not. 3 weeks earlier [the mother]

and 2 of the children were found to be infected. And 2 weeks following

the New Year's visit, after everyone had taken a full course of

antibiotics, 2 of the children tested positive.

Over the next 3 months, which included several more bouts of strep,

[the father] began to suspect that the cause of the repeated infection

was in their home. But finding medical professionals who took his

controversial hypothesis seriously proved to be a challenge.

The 1st case occurred in late October 2017. 4 months before the 1st

outbreak, the family had adopted Umberto, a 3-year-old cat. After a

round of antibiotics, everyone seemed to recover. But 5 weeks later,

his daughters complained of sore throats. This time the entire family

was tested. Throat cultures revealed that all 5 had strep. Within a

few days, the infection seemed to have cleared. But success was

short-lived; the New Year's Day visit occurred 3 weeks later. This

time the doctor prescribed a different antibiotic.

[The father] said that he and his wife were reminded of the need to

finish the full course of antibiotics and of sanitation measures they

had been following, including replacing the toothbrushes they had been

using. But 2 weeks later, on [16 Jan 2018], [2 daughters] had strep

again. And at the end of January [2018], all 3 kids tested positive.

[The father] called his mother, a retired pediatrician who had

practiced in suburban Maryland, for advice. She told him about a

family she had seen who kept getting strep until they got rid of their

pet cat. "I started looking at the scientific literature, and

everything said that cats can't transmit strep," [the father]

recalled. [He] said his wife asked their doctors about the possibility

that cats could be vectors of strep, while he queried his cousin, a

veterinarian. "They all pretty much said the same thing: 'There's no

evidence that cats can transmit strep to humans, but if you want to be

safe, get rid of the cat,'" [the father] recalled.

Although there are diseases that cats can transmit to people --

including toxoplasmosis, cat scratch disease, and ringworm --

_Streptococcus_ [group] A, the bacteria that causes strep throat, is

not believed to be among them. A 2002 report from the American

Veterinary Medical Association noted that while doctors sometimes

blame pet cats and dogs for recurrent strep throat in children

"evidence doesn't support this."

Cats and dogs can infect humans with a strain called [_Streptococcus]

canis_, which is present in animal saliva and is usually transmitted

through a bite.

[The mother] asked their vet whether she could test Umberto for strep

in case he was a conduit. The vet refused: Umberto seemed healthy and

there was no reason to swab the throat of a healthy cat, which would

require hooking him up to oxygen and administering general anesthesia.

As a scientist, [the father] said he was frustrated that no one seemed

willing to consider the possibility that in rare cases a cat might

harbor strep that could be transmitted to humans. A few published

reports had suggested such a scenario. Among them is a 2007 letter in

the Mayo Clinic Proceedings by a Pennsylvania internist who described

an experience similar to the [this father's] family [see


His 3 young children developed recurrent strep, which was eradicated

after they -- and their cat -- were treated simultaneously with


The [family] called a few veterinary practices to see if they'd test

Umberto; all said no. In early March [2018], 3-year-old [daughter] got

strep throat along with respiratory syncytial virus, which led to

pneumonia, resulting in a 2-day hospitalization. After she got home,

the couple was discussing the plethora of medical resources available

in Madison, which includes a large and respected college of veterinary

medicine. [The mother] wound up talking to Caitlin Barry-Heffernan, a

4th-year veterinary internal medicine resident. Then she handed the

phone to her husband for his pitch.

"We were all kind of skeptical," recalled Barry-Heffernan, who now

practices in Southfield, Michigan, outside Detroit. It is uncommon,

she said, for cats to carry strep A, because the bacteria" doesn't

like to live on animals." But she was intrigued by the possibility and

persuaded by [the father]. He was scientifically knowledgeable and "it

was a pretty believable circumstance." Barry-Heffernan said she walked

down the hall to consult with a veteran microbiologist. "She was very

skeptical," Barry-Heffernan recalled, but agreed that "we should be

able to culture it if it's there."

On [4 Apr 2018], while the entire family was taking antibiotics for

the 7th bout of strep in as many months, Umberto was seen by

Barry-Heffernan and a vet student. They whisked Umberto, who

Barry-Heffernan said seemed "perfectly healthy," into a nearby room

and quickly swabbed his throat. Neither anesthesia nor oxygen was

required. To the surprise of the vet school faculty, group A strep was

found in the cat's throat; it appeared to match the strain of strep

collected during [the father]'s most recent throat culture.

"Almost certainly Umberto was contributing to the family's

infections," Barry-Heffernan said. She prescribed antibiotics for the

cat and a disinfectant spray for his fur. And the family was given

another round of antibiotics. Soon afterward they left on a previously

scheduled 2-week trip to Costa Rica. In their absence, Umberto was

given his medication, and the house was professionally cleaned for a

2nd time. Since then, [the father] said, no one has had strep.

"Once we identified Umberto as a carrier, it was really easy to

address," Barry-Heffernan said. It seems likely that the infection was

being passed among the asymptomatic cat and various members of the

family; it probably originated in a human. Barry-Heffernan said she

hopes that the [family's] unusual case doesn't cause people to get rid

of their pets. "It was very easily treated," she noted.

[Byline: Sandra G Boodman]


Communicated by:


'When you feel as though you can't do something, the simple antidote is action: Begin doing it. Start the process, even if it's just a simple step, and don't stop at the beginning.'
Marcus B
Back to Top
Hazelpad View Drop Down
Adviser Group
Adviser Group

Joined: September 09 2014
Location: scotland
Status: Offline
Points: 5645
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hazelpad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 05 2020 at 11:19am


At least once a winter I get a client requesting their dog get a throat culture for strep throat, not because the dog is sick, but because the family can’t shake it off, after cycle after cycle of medication. Most often the pediatrician is requesting testing and treatment of the dog

Many pediatricians recall a paper published in Postgrad Med. 1983 titled: “Recurrent pharyngitis in family of four. Household pet as reservoir of group A streptococci.” In this paper, numerous attempts using conventional methods of treatment failed to permanently rid the family of strep throat. Their pet dog was finally discovered to be a carrier of group A streptococci and was treated. Most likely, the dog got strep from a human family member, just like the rest of the family!

My recommendation is to save your money and not test the dog for strep. I have agreed to treat a dog with antibiotics, just in case, to ease a client’s mind, but along that path I feel the pediatrician should insist all human family members go on antibiotics too!

Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down