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Putting Rapid Group A Strep Throat Screening Tests Into Perspective

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(9):852. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140230022008.
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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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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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