Pharyngitis caused by the group A streptococcus requires accurate diagnosis and timely treatment to prevent acute rheumatic fever. Clinical signs and symptoms often do not distinguish pharyngitis caused by group A streptococci from pharyngitis caused by other microorganisms. Rapid antigen detection or throat culture are recommended for diagnosis except when viral signs and symptoms are prominent. Therapy with penicillin, the drug of choice, is associated with prevention of rheumatic fever, more rapid clinical improvement, and prompt loss of contagiousness. Bacteriologic treatment failure occurs despite universal sensitivity of group A streptococci to penicillin. The cause of treatment failure (and of chronic carriage) remain to be determined. Newer, more expensive antibiotics do not substantially enhance treatment success and need not be prescribed for most patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Microbiology (medical)