A streptococcal screen is a test to detect group A streptococcus, the most common cause of strep throat .
Rapid strep test
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:
- Sore throat
- Tender and swollen glands at the front of your neck
- White or yellow spots on your tonsils
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.
There are no risks.
This test screens for the group A streptococcus bacteria only and will not detect other causes of sore throat.
|Review Date: 5/12/2014|
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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