We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Streptococcus Bacteria?

By Caitlin Kenney
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Streptococcus bacteria is a genus of coccus, or spherelike, Gram-positive, chained bacteria belonging to the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) group. Individual streptococcus cells may be round or ovoid and all lack the enzyme catylase. Because these cells divide along a single plane, streptococci occur in pairs or in chains.

Like many other types of bacteria in the firmicute phylum, streptococcus bacteria stains dark blue or violet when subject to Gram staining due to the composition of its cell wall. This is what is meant by Gram-positive. As a member of the lactic acid bacteria group, this bacteria is resistant to acidic conditions and thrives on no oxygen or levels of oxygen below the concentration of oxygen in air.

Streptococcus bacteria is divided into eighteen alphabetized groups, called Lancefield groups. American bacteriologist Rebecca Craighill Lancefield developed this method of classifying streptococci in 1933 based on the antigens, or antibody producing substances, found in the cell wall of the streptococcus bacteria under examination. Several types of streptococcus do not react to Lancefield grouping, however, and must be classified using hemolysis, which monitors how completely the bacterium breaks down in a blood solution.

The group viridans streptococcus is either non-hemolytic or breaks down only partially, causing the green stain responsible for the name “viridans.” This large and diverse group of streptococcus does not have reliable taxonomy (classification) or nomenclature as of yet. Many types of streptococcus can cause disease and infection in humans, while many others are harmless. Group A streptoccus, Group B streptococcus, Viridans streptococcus and S Pneumoniae are the types most commonly of medical concern.

Group A streptococcus (GAS), or S pyogenes, is one of the most common pathogens in humans. A GAS infection can affect several locations of the body, and are frequently categorized by location. One of the most well known of these is strep throat. Strep throat affects the pharynx and causes several symptoms, among them severe sore throat, swollen tonsils, nausea, headaches and yellow and white patches in the throat.

GAS can be deadly as the cause of puerperal fever, or sepsis in women after childbirth. Sepsis is when a microbe enters the bloodstream, possibly causing a serious systemic reaction. GAS was also responsible for attacks of scarlet fever which, like puerperal fever, are now controlled through better hygiene and antibiotics. In the skin, GAS can cause impetigo, cellulitis and erysipelas. GAS infections may also cause pneumonia, meningitis, tonsillitis, septic arthritis and toxic shock syndrome, amongst other diseases.

Group B streptococcus bacteria (GBS), or S agalactiae, is frequently found in the urogenital tracts and rectums of women of child-bearing age. Complications may arise in women with compromised immune systems, but it is more commonly significant when transmitted to babies during childbirth. A GBS infection of a newborn can cause meningitis or sepsis, which may lead to death or long term hearing loss. Neonatal meningitis presents differently than adult meningitis, with symptoms of vomiting and fever. For this reason, neonatal meningitis often goes undiagnosed and can be fatal.

Streptococcus viridans is often responsible for dental infections and the formation of plaque. This type of bacteria, along with Group C, F, G and particularly D, can cause endocarditis, especially when the valves of the heart are previously damaged. Endocarditis is the inflammation of the inner layer of the heart, known as the endocardium.

Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, is the most common cause of invasive bacterial infection of children and the elderly. It can cause pneumonia, sinusitis and meningitis, amongst other diseases. Streptococcus pneumoniae may cause either lobar pneumonia, which affects an entire lung lobe, usually in younger adults, or bronchial pneumonia, which affects the alveoli, tending towards older adults or children.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1001467 — On Apr 20, 2019

1 tbsp raw honey, 3-5 garlic cloves chopped, 1/8 tsp cayenne. 1 tsp every hour, and it will act like an antibiotic without killing your good gut bacteria. It will also help to boost your immune system.

By anon324833 — On Mar 12, 2013

My husband and I have been treated with some of the strongest antibiotics for the streptococcus bacteria and nothing seems to work. We are tired and worn out. We don't know what else to do. Please help us.

By anon275630 — On Jun 19, 2012

Can taking a probiotic help to increase lactic acid in the gut, and can it be a source of Strep B in the urine?

--Maria

By anon255665 — On Mar 18, 2012

My daughter is 5 years old and has a urinary tract infection with streptococcal bacteria. Please inform me about the dangers to my child.

By anon248209 — On Feb 16, 2012

What is the genus and species of streptococcus disease?

By anon131002 — On Nov 30, 2010

I had a problem with my face and acne and I have read that streptococcus bacteria is one of the cause of having it. I just wanted to know how does it occur in our body and how do we control its excessive number in our body? -Jake

By anon122130 — On Oct 26, 2010

My granddaughter was born last Monday. By Friday, my daughter-in-law had a 102 fever and was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Group A strep in the area of the episiotomy. What causes this?

By anon88571 — On Jun 06, 2010

whereabouts is the streptococcus cell anyway?

i have found so many different ideas about it but none of them are the same.

By anon79878 — On Apr 25, 2010

I have had streptococcus mutated infection of the leg and now it seems to be spreading to other parts of my body. unfortunately I cannot take penicillin.

By mentirosa — On Feb 28, 2010

Streptococcus bacteria that cause strep throat are easily and quickly passed from one person to another.

It is important to take precautions and stay away from the patient. Of course those who help the ill person get well need to take extra precautions.

Also some people are carriers of strep bacteria, but they actually do not get ill themselves.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.