Researchers in Toronto conducted a study to examine whether current procedures to treat sore throats were too quick to prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily. Out of an estimated 6.7 million annual sore throat patients, 70 percent received antibiotic prescriptions. Doctors also researched the use of throat cultures and rapid tests to detect streptococcus in children and adults who were prompted to seek medical help for their sore throats.
After sampling nearly 800 children and adults, ages 3 to 69, researchers determined that the use of throat cultures to distinguish sore throats from strep throat cases is a desirable procedure. Especially, when this treatment reduces the overall and unnecessary use of antibiotics to treat sore throats.
Researchers say throat cultures, or throat culture confirmation of negative rapid test results, continue to be necessary in children to ensure optimal identification of GAS pharyngitis [strep throat].