Reference Index - Medical Tests

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Throat anatomy
Throat anatomy


Throat swabs
Throat swabs


Streptococcal screen

Definition:

A streptococcal screen is a test to detect group A streptococcus, the most common cause of strep throat .



Alternative Names:

Rapid strep test



How the test is performed:

The test requires a throat swab. It takes about 7 minutes. The swab is tested to identify group A streptococcus.



How to prepare for the test:

There is no special preparation. Inform the health care provider if you are taking, or have recently taken, antibiotics.



How the test will feel:

Your throat will be swabbed in the area of the tonsils. This may make you gag.



Why the test is performed:

Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs of strep throat or if you have symptoms of pharyngitis (sore throat).



Normal Values:

The test is considered normal if Group A streptococcus is not present.



What abnormal results mean:

An abnormal result means Group A streptococcus is present, and confirms strep throat.



What the risks are:

There are no risks.



Special considerations:

This test screens for the group A streptococcus organism only and will not detect other causes of sore throat.



References:

Caserta MT, Flores AR. Pharyngitis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 54.

Bisno AL, Stevens DL. Streptococcus pyogenes. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 198.




Review Date: 5/9/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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