Japan warns on surge in potentially deadly strep throat cases

TOKYO – Japanese health authorities have warned about a jump in potentially deadly strep throat infections, with cases running about three times higher than last year in Tokyo.

Across the country, infections of streptococcus bacteria of the throat are being diagnosed at quadruple the pace of the past five years, according to a health ministry report earlier this month.

Through March 10, Japan recorded 474 cases of the more serious streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (SSTS), which has a fatality rate of up to 30% … READ MORE. 

Strep throat – Overview

MAYO CLINIC – Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can make your throat feel sore and scratchy. Strep throat accounts for only a small portion of sore throats.

If untreated, strep throat can cause complications, such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a specific type of rash, or heart valve damage.

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Strep throat is most common in children, but it affects people of all ages. If you or your child has signs or symptoms of strep throat, see your doctor for prompt testing and treatment.


Signs and symptoms of strep throat can include:

  • Throat pain that usually comes on quickly
  • Painful swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny red spots on the area at the back of the roof of the mouth (soft or hard palate)
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Nausea or vomiting, especially in younger children
  • Body aches

Strep throat infection

Strep throat usually causes throat pain and difficulty swallowing. This photo of strep throat shows inflammation and red spots, caused by the infection.

It’s possible for you or your child to have many of these signs and symptoms but not have strep throat. The cause of these signs and symptoms could be a viral infection or some other illness. That’s why your doctor generally tests specifically for strep throat.

It’s also possible for you to be exposed to a person who carries strep but shows no symptoms.

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When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you or your child has any of these signs and symptoms:

  • A sore throat accompanied by tender, swollen lymph glands
  • A sore throat that lasts longer than 48 hours
  • A fever
  • A sore throat accompanied by a rash
  • Problems breathing or swallowing
  • If strep has been diagnosed, a lack of improvement after taking antibiotics for 48 hours
Image: Wannapik Studio, CC https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
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