GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Doctors in West Michigan put out the alert last week that they are seeing a number of strep A cases in children, some resulting in death.

“This is a complex thing to discuss because strep A is actually an extremely common infection in children and in some adults as well,” said Dr. Rosemary Olivero, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Olivero said strep A bacteria is the same bacteria that causes strep throat. Symptoms include a sore throat, fever, abdominal pain and swelling of neck glands.

“What they’re seeing now is different than the run of the mill strep throat. Strep A infections are causing more severe and invasive infections in the past several months across the U.S. and now here in Michigan, “said Olivero.

Strep A is spread through large respiratory droplets from the mouth and nasopharynx. It can spread easily in family or school settings.

Olivero said it’s time to call a medical professional if a parent notices a skin condition featuring a spreading area of redness or a sandpaper-type rash. Any painful part of the body is also a sign that a medical professional should get involved.

“For these more rare cases of strep A infections, it’s all about early recognition and seeking medical care,” said Olivero.

Strep A can be treated with penicillin or amoxicillin.