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June 19, 1967

Throat Culture Processing In the Office—A Warning

JAMA. 1967;200(12):1132-1133. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120250166029

To the Editor:—  Obtaining a throat culture, regardless of the clinical picture, is essential to the accurate diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis.1-3 The processing of throat cultures has long been the province of the bacteriologist, but there is still much controversy over the best bacteriological procedures.4-7 Results do not show conclusively the superiority of any one method.To insure prompt diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis, many investigators advocate the office processing of throat cultures.8-11 In 1964, the Heart Disease Control Program of the Vermont State Department of Health undertook an evaluation of throat culture processing in the office to determine whether recovery rates of beta hemolytic streptococci by office methods were acceptable.

Materials and Methods.—  Physicians were selected at random from a group of the largest users of the state laboratory bacteriology facilities. Each participant was given the following equipment for use in his office: incubator (office size) set