When your child has a sore throat you may wonder if they could have a bacterial infection called “Strep Throat” (a throat infection caused by the Streptococcous group A bacteria). Some physicians might claim they can tell merely by looking at the throat whether there is a Strep infection or not. The truth is that the only way one can tell whether or not there is an infection caused by the Streptococcus bacteria, is to take a throat swab. Typically a throat swab is taken and a result is given after 48 hours.
In September 2012 a review came out by the Infectious Disease Society of America which clearly shows the merit of Rapid Strep Tests in the office setting (read more here). After discussion with our local Pediatric Infectious Disease specialists, I now have a Rapid Strep Test available in my office which gives me a result within 5 minutes. If it is positive, it indeed correlates with having a positive throat culture in 100% of the cases. If the rapid test is negative, there is a 3-4% chance there still could be strep. That’s why just to be sure, I will still do the 48-hr culture throat swab as well. However, if the Rapid Strep Test is positive (meaning there is Strep Throat), antibiotics can be started immediately.