Does your sore throat need a throat culture?

flickr.com/photos/funnelcloud /5661813945/

flickr.com/photos/funnelcloud /5661813945/

Most likely not.  We, physicians, often check to make sure that your sore throat isn’t “strep throat.”   We specifically check for strep as there can be complications if the streptococcus isn’t treated with an antibiotic. The good news is that our rapid strep test is 86% sensitive and 96% specific.  As far as medical tests go, the rapid antigen test is highly effective in identifying and excluding strep.

It is thought that the rapid strep test is sensitive enough (and the likelihood or rheumatic heart disease is low enough) to stop the long-held practice of confirming negative rapid test results with a culture.  This is suggested as rheumatic heart disease due to group A streptococcal infections has “all but disappeared in wealthy countries” says Lancet (a medical journal 2012; 379 (9819): 953-964).

Food for thought…

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About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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