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I am pleased that Dr. Field's experience with throat cultures has been rewarding, and I know that many other pediatricians have found them equally useful. Apparently Dr. Roberts disagrees. It is perfectly true that a single culture may not yield all the information one would like, but one throat culture is surely better than none.
I would agree with both correspondents that it is not possible often to isolate the causal agent from a nasopharyngeal culture in children with otitis media. However, we have seen enough infants with otitis in whom a relatively pure culture of Hemophilus influenzae or pneumococci was obtained, to suggest that this nasopharyngeal culture should not be discarded altogether. We still prefer penicillin for pneumococcal infections, but I would agree with the suggestion made by both contributors that for H. influenzae infections tetracycline is preferable to chloramphenicol as the starting drug. However, we have treated infants
Markowitz M. ONE THROAT CULTURE BETTER THAN NONE. Am J Dis Child. 1963;105(6):695. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1963.02080040697025