UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: At what age should I test for strep throat in children?

Keywords: Sore throat, strep throat (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/15/2019 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 2/24/2020)
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Streptococcal pharyngitis is common in the pediatric population however in children younger than 3 years, group A streptococcus (GAS) is a rare cause of sore throat and sequela including acute rheumatic fever are very rare.  Inappropriate testing leads to increased healthcare and unnecessary exposure to antibiotics.

The national guidelines published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America do NOT recommend GAS testing in children less than the age of 3 years unless the patient meets clinical criteria and has a home contact with documented GAS.

References

Ahluwalia et al.  Reducing streptococcal testing in patients less than 3 years old in an emergency department.  Pediatrics 2019;144:4.