DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiae136 ISSN: 0022-1899

Systematic review of household transmission of Strep A: A potential site for prevention that has eluded attention

Stephanie L Enkel, Samuel Barnes, Jessica Daw, Emma Pearson, Hannah M M Thomas, Nina Lansbury, Rosemary Wyber, Andrew M Redmond, Anna P Ralph, Jonathan R Carapetis, Asha C Bowen
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy



Despite being the sixth most common infectious disease globally, transmission of Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep A) within the household remains an understudied driver of infection. We undertook a systematic review to better understand the transmission of Strep A between people within the home while highlighting opportunities for prevention.


A search strategy was applied to five databases between September 2022 and March 2023. Results were limited to those published between January 2000 and March 2023. Texts were reviewed by two authors and the following data extracted: article details (title, author, year), study type, transmission year, country, participant age/s, infection status, molecular testing, and transmission mode. Funding was provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC, grant number GNT2010716).


The final analysis comprised 28 texts. Only seven studies (25.0%) provided sufficient detail to identify the Strep A transmission mode. These were contact (4), vehicle (bedding; clothing; other fabric, and medical equipment, [2]), and contact with animals (1). All others were classified as household (specific mode unascertainable). Most articles reported outbreaks involving invasive Strep A infections.


There is limited literature regarding household transmission of Strep A. Understanding transmission in this setting remains imperative to guide control methods.

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