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A streptococcal screen is a test to detect group A streptococcus, the most common cause of strep throat.
Rapid strep test
The test requires a throat swab. It takes about 7 minutes. The swab is tested to identify group A streptococcus, the cause of strep throat.
There is no special preparation. Inform the health care provider if you are taking, or have recently taken, antibiotics.
Your throat will be swabbed in the area of the tonsils. This may make you gag.
Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs of strep throat, which include:
A negative strep screen most often means Group A streptococcus is not present. It is unlikely that you have strep throat.
If your health care provider still feels that you may have strep throat, a throat culture will be done.
A positive strep screen most often means Group A streptococcus is present, and confirms strep throat.
At times, 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 the 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.
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Nussenbaum B, Bradford CR. Pharyngitis in adults. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund LJ, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Eslevier; 2010:chap 13.