"While there are a lot of hypotheses, the data to support those hypotheses is incomplete at best," Kaplan said. "There's been a lot published, but we don't know the true reason for this disease or what causes it."
Scientists do know that there are about 130 different types of Group A Strep. And while there's some evidence of a degree of resistance after exposure, strep isn't limited to a single type per season.
Worst case scenario: several people in your family or in your kid's classroom contract strep and recover, only to wake up a week or two later with another sore throat. Doctors call it the ping-pong effect.
"If it gets so bad, I've had the experience of parents banding together to say this has got to stop, and that's when the school will contact the health department," Kaplan said. "If it looks like an outbreak, they can decide what to do. For example, they could culture everybody in the room and treat those who are positive."
What can parents do?
To lessen the risk of exposure, remind kids to wash hands and cover their cough. Strep is spread by coughing and sneezing."