Since the 1980s there has been a marked increase in the recognition and reporting of highly invasive group A streptococcal infections with or without necrotizing fasciitis associated with shock and organ failure. Such dramatic cases have been defined as streptococcal toxic-shock syndrome. Strains of group A streptococci isolated from patients with invasive disease have been predominantly M types 1 and 3 that produce pyrogenic exotoxin A or B or both. In this paper, the clinical and demographic features of streptococcal bacteremia, myositis, and necrotizing fasciitis are presented and compared to those of streptococcal toxic-shock syndrome. Current concepts in the pathogenesis of invasive streptococcal infection are also presented, with emphasis on the interaction between group A Streptococcus virulence factors and host defense mechanisms. Finally, new concepts in the treatment of streptococcal toxic-shock syndrome are discussed.