Streptococcus spp.

The genus Streptococcus belongs to the family Streptococcaceae. Streptococci are Gram-positive spherical bacteria that form themselves in chains.

According to their hemolytic behavior (dissolution of red blood cells), the bacteria are classified as α-, β-, and γ-hemolytic streptococci. A further subdivision of β-hemolytic streptococci is made according to the Lancefield classification. Here, the bacteria are differentiated according to the presence of antigens. Streptococci of particular medical relevance include Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Streptococci cause the following diseases, among others:

  • Pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx)

  • Caries

  • Pneumonia

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart)

  • Sepsis

Streptococci are found in humans and in various animal species, including cattle, dogs, sheep, and goats.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: High

  • Pulmonology: High

  • Ear, nose, and throat: High

  • Urology: High

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • High concern organism

Transmission route

Streptococci are transmitted via droplets and aerosols. In addition, transmission occurs via direct or indirect contact with contaminated persons and objects.

Resistance to antibiotics

The species of streptococci each show different levels of resistance to antibiotics. For example, the species Streptococcus pyogenes shows resistance to tetracyclines and macrolides. Streptococcus pneumoniae has reduced sensitivity to insensitivity to macrolides, penicillins, and cephalosporins.

Sources and further readings

  1. Gries O, Ly T: Infektologie – Kompendium humanpathogener Infektionskrankheiten und Erreger, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2019.

  2. Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accessed on 06.29.2021.

  3. Group B Strep (GBS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accessed on 06.29.2021.