Rapid Strep Test

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Just a Sore Throat or Strep Slideshow

Why is identification of streptococcal infection important?

Patients benefit both immediately and potentially in the long-term by rapid confirmation of streptococcal cause of their sore throat. Antibiotic treatment provides a quicker reduction of symptoms, shortens the duration of illness and quickly, and efficiently eliminates the possibility of spread of infection to others.

  • Although rare, serious consequences of streptococcal infections do occur. Rheumatic fever is associated with heart, joint and nervous system damage and is preventable by rapid treatment of strep disease.
  • Serious kidney disease that may result in kidney failure may also be a consequence of streptococcal infection.
  • A throat infection due to strep needs antibiotic therapy initiated as rapidly as possible. The rapid strep test facilitates this goal.

What is the traditional test for strep throat?

The traditional test for a strep throat has been a throat culture. The major drawback of a throat culture is that the results take two to three days due to the time necessary to allow enough GAS bacteria to grow to enable accurate identification.

Why is the rapid test better?

By comparison with culture methods, a rapid strep test is much quicker and can produce results within minutes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/20/2015
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