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Group A Streptococcus (group A strep) is a bacterium that can cause many different infections, including strep throat, scarlet fever, impetigo, and others. The bacteria live in the nose and throat. When someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, the bacteria travel in small droplets of water called respiratory droplets. One of the ways you can get sick is if you breathe in those droplets or if you touch something that has the droplets on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.