September 1986

Putting Rapid Group A Strep Throat Screening Tests Into Perspective

Author Affiliations

496 Sherwood Way, #2 Menlo Park, CA 94025

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(9):852. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140230022008

Sir.—I recently evaluated a limited series of 40 patients (aged 3 years to adult) who, if they were experiencing a sore throat at the time of their office visit and had evidence of tonsillitis or pharyngitis on physical examination, received, as part of the initial assessment, a rapid, latex agglutination—type group A strep (GAS) throat screening test plus the conventional GAS throat culture (TC). Not infrequently, the rapid GAS screening test was negative, with the concomitant conventional TC subsequently noted to be positive for GAS. Therefore, should the practitioner defer initiating treatment of pharyngitis because the rapid GAS screen is negative, or should the practitioner exercise a rational clinical judgment and initiate appropriate antibiotic treatment if streptococcal (strep) pharyngitis is suspected clinically despite a negative rapid GAS screen?

Runny-stuffy nose, cough, conjunctivitis, and hoarseness, along with fever, defined as a rectal or oral temperature greater than 37.8°C (100°F),

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