A doctor checks a patient's throat. (credit: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images)

NORTH TEXAS (KRLD) – More adults appear to be getting sick with a bacterium that commonly attacks children – strep throat.

Dr. Richard Honaker works in Carrollton and said his practice was seeing so many positive, quick strep tests that he thought their detector was malfunctioning. “We had been seeing about three times as many people, with positive quick strep tests, that we usually see.”

To make sure everything was working correctly, office workers ran the test kits on staff members and found that they were good. That meant the unusually high number of positive test results that they’d seen for adults were correct.

“Normally, we have say 10 people with strep throat this week – one of them will be over 40 and nine of them will be under 40. It’s lately been 50-50,” Honaker said of the increase.

According to the Mayo Clinic, strep throat is caused by streptococcus bacteria and while it mostly affects children from ages 5 to 15, anyone can catch it.

It’s believed the increase in North Texas strep cases is partially due to the record drought and Fall ragweed and cedar allergies, caused by dust particles and the decomposition of pants.

“When the winds pick up – boom! That stuff goes in the air, people get allergies, then they start sneezing and as I said they [then] spread these germs.”

Common strep throat symptoms include difficulty swallowing, white or yellow patches on the tonsils, neck pain, wheezing, joint and muscle pain and dizziness.