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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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