Strep infections

Unraveling why some kids get recurrent tonsillitis and others don't

Streptococcus Pyogenes
Streptococcus Pyogenes. Photo:BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images

Scientists may have discovered one of the mysterious reasons behind why some children have recurrent tonsillitis (RT) when they have a strep infection, finding there may be a genetic predisposition in some people, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine Wednesday.

Why it matters: There are an estimated 600 million cases of strep globally and 750,000 tonsillectomies performed in the U.S., mostly caused by RT. It can greatly disrupt children's education, force parents to miss work, and in developing countries without large amounts of antibiotics, it can lead to dangerous acute rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease.