Tags: strep | throat | antibiotics

Most Sore Throats Not Strep: Study

Friday, 07 Dec 2012 10:17 AM


Got a bad sore throat? Odds are that it’s not strep throat, even if your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for it, new research suggests.

Most sore throats actually are caused by a virus, not streptococcus bacteria, and shouldn't be treated with antibiotics, according to a new report and guidelines published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).
About 15 million Americans see the doctor for a sore throat every year and up to 70 percent receive antibiotics — which are ineffective against viruses — yet only 20-30 percent of children and 5-15 percent of adults actually have strep, the IDSA reported in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
The IDSA's newly revised guidelines advise that children and adults not be tested for strep throat throat — Group A streptococcal pharyngitis — if they have a cough, runny nose, hoarseness, and mouth sores, which are strong signs of a viral throat infection. They note a sore throat is more likely to be caused by strep if it is accompanied by sudden pain and fever and swallowing hurts. But doctors should confirm strep through testing before antibiotics are prescribed, the guidelines note.
If strep is suspected, physicians should use a rapid antigen detection test, which provides results in a few minutes, and a follow-up throat culture for children and adolescents (but not for adults). Because strep throat is uncommon in children 3 years old or younger, they don't need to be tested.
The guidelines also advise that when a strep infection is confirmed by testing, it should be treated with penicillin or amoxicillin and not azithromycin or a cephalosporin. Children who suffer from recurrent strep throat should not have their tonsils surgically removed solely to reduce the frequency of infection.
"The guidelines promote accurate diagnosis and treatment, particularly in avoiding the inappropriate use of antibiotics, which contributes to drug-resistant bacteria," said Dr. Stanford T. Shulman, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. "We recommend penicillin or amoxicillin for treating strep because they are very effective and safe in those who are not allergic, and there is increasing resistance of strep to the broader-spectrum — and more expensive — macrolides, including azithromycin."

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Most sore throats are caused by a virus, not strep, and shouldn't be treated with antibiotics, a study finds.
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2012-17-07
Friday, 07 Dec 2012 10:17 AM
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