URL of this page: //www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003745.htm

Streptococcal screen

A streptococcal screen is a test to detect group A streptococcus, the most common cause of strep throat.

How the Test is Performed

The test requires a throat swab. The swab is tested to identify group A streptococcus, the cause of strep throat. It takes about 7 minutes to get the results.

How to Prepare for the Test

There is no special preparation. Tell your doctor if you are taking, or have recently taken antibiotics.

How the Test will Feel

The back of your throat will be swabbed in the area of the tonsils. This may make you gag.

Why the Test is Performed

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of strep throat, which include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Tender and swollen glands at the front of your neck
  • White or yellow spots on your tonsils

Normal Results

A negative strep screen most often means Group A streptococcus is not present. It is unlikely that you have strep throat.

If your doctor still thinks that you may have strep throat, a throat culture will be done.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A positive strep screen most often means Group A streptococcus is present, and confirms that you have strep throat.

Sometimes, the test may be positive, even if you do not have strep. This is called a false-positive result and is more likely if you have a fever or other symptoms of strep throat.

Risks

There are no risks.

Considerations

This test screens for the group A streptococcus bacteria only and will not detect other causes of sore throat.

Alternative Names

Rapid strep test

References

Nussenbaum B, Bradford CR. Pharyngitis in adults. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund LJ, et al, eds.Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery

Weber R. Pharyngitis. In: Bope ET, Kellerman RD, eds.Conn's Current Therapy 2012

Wessels MR. Clinical practice. Streptococcal pharyngitis. N Engl J Med

Read More

Update Date 5/12/2014

Related MedlinePlus Health Topics