Infections caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS) are characterized by robust inflammatory responses and can rapidly lead to life-threatening disease manifestations. However, host mechanisms that respond to GAS, which may influence disease pathology, are understudied. Recent works indicate that GAS infection is recognized by multiple extracellular and intracellular receptors and activates cell signalling via discrete pathways. Host leukocyte receptor binding to GAS-derived products mediates release of inflammatory mediators associated with severe GAS disease. GAS induces divergent phagocyte programmed cell death responses and has inflammatory implications. Epithelial cell apoptotic and autophagic components are mobilized by GAS infection, but can be subverted to ensure bacterial survival. Examination of host interactions with GAS and consequences of GAS infection in the context of cellular receptors responsible for GAS recognition, inflammatory mediator responses, and cell death mechanisms, highlights potential avenues for diagnostic and therapeutic intervention. Understanding the molecular and cellular basis of host symptoms during severe GAS disease will assist the development of improved treatment regimens for this formidable pathogen.