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. It takes about 7 minutes. The swab is tested to identify group A streptococcus.
How to prepare for the test
There is no special preparation. Inform the health care provider if you are taking, or have recently taken, antibiotics.
How the test will feel
Your throat will be swabbed in the area of the tonsils. This may make you gag.
Why the test is performed
Your health care provider may order this test if you have signs of strep throat or if you have symptoms of pharyngitis (sore throat).
The test is considered normal if Group A streptococcus is not present.
What abnormal results mean
An abnormal result means Group A streptococcus is present, and confirms strep throat.
What the risks are
There are no risks.
This test screens for the group A streptococcus organism only and will not detect other causes of sore throat.
Caserta MT, Flores AR. Pharyngitis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 54.
Bisno AL, Stevens DL. Streptococcus pyogenes. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 198.
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.