Viridans group streptococci

Viridans Group Streptococci

Viridans group streptococci (VGS) are an enormous group of bacteria that consist of over 50 species. They are part of the Streptococcus genus, and generally, live in the human digestive tract or outside in the environment. Although VGS are innocent commensal bacteria, they are capable of causing serious pathogens associated diseases in immuno-compromised people.

Signs and Symptoms of Viridans Group Streptococci Infection

Some of the opportunistic infections caused by VGS can cause severe oral infections such as endocarditis, meningitis, septicemia, and joint infection. VGS infections in immunocompetent people rarely cause systemic infection, but some of the symptoms observed in these cases may include:

  • Chills and fever
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Skin rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Confusion

Diagnosing Viridans Group Streptococci

A diagnosis of a VGS infection requires taking clinical samples such as blood, throat swabs, and spinal fluid. Such samples can be tested for Gram staining and antigen tests. In Gram staining, the bacterium is examined for its cell shape, arrangement, and structure. In antigen tests, the presence of antigens that trigger immune responses are examined too.

Treatment of Viridans Group Streptococci

Treatment for VGS infections depends on the nature and extent of the infection. Generally, antibiotics and supportive therapies are used to treat VGS infections. For highly severe cases, surgical interventions might be necessary. Additionally, immuno-therapies are also used to fight off VGS infections.

Prevention of Viridans Group Streptococci

Preventing VGS infections requires taking some preventive measures to ensure basic hygiene and sanitation. It’s important to follow good hygiene practices such as regularly washing the hands with soap and avoiding contact with infected individuals. Additionally, proper food handling and storage are also important preventive measures.