my 9yr old son came home from camp unusually fatigued. the next morning he had a high fever and a very sore throat. by 10am, he was photosensitive and had a headache. doctor told us it was probably viral but that if he got worse to go to the ER. By that afternoon we were in the ER. doctor said, 'it's a virus - should clear up in about 3 days'. 2 days later, his breathing was shallow, heartbeat racing and he was unable to move. another er doc said virus. 2 days later he developed a rash, was vomitting and sleeping almost all of the time. still high fever. couldn't walk unaided. head doctor of ER said virus but also sent off a strep test incase. not a rapid strep test - a 2 day one. the following day i raced my son back to the GP because my son seemed as though he was dying. he had thick blood coming from his nose. his joints were swollen. sent to the ER with a letter. kept overnight for observation. he had pain in his chest and couldn't breathe. doctor said, 'he has large tonsils. here is some panadol. he should lie on his side.' the next day he needed a MET call, was rushed to surgery to have chest tubes inserted and ended up in the ICU. he had strep that progressed to a septic pneumonia and rheumatic fever. 3 operations. 3 weeks in hospital and 6 months of outpatient care. we are very lucky to still have him with us.
if he'd been given penicillin by the first or second doctor, he would have been perfectly fine and not contagious after a day.