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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Doctors at University Hospitals are warning about a rise in strep throat infections among children.

“It is certainly a phenomenon that we are seeing and it’s something that is being reported in other places. Oddly, you tend not to see as much strep in the middle of winter,” said Dr. Amy Edwards.

But according to Edwards, there was a recent wave of what they are calling invasive strep infections in Northeast Ohio.

“We saw cases in the fall, but in terms of kids sick enough to be in the hospital, that’s been in the last four, five weeks,” said Edwards.

So, what gives? Dr. Edwards said the so-called “tripledemic” may be to blame.

“Viral infections break down the natural protective immunity that lives in the back of our nose and throat and that is of course, where strep can live. That is a possibility. The other thing is that for the last several years, people have been wearing masks,” said Edwards.

Strep is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets.

“Signs are the sore throat obviously, but strep is often causing headache and stomach ache together with that sore throat,” said Edwards.

Doctors say one way to treat strep is antibiotics.

But right now, the CDC is reporting a national shortage of amoxicillin. The shortage is expected to last several months.