Microbiological diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis: lacunae and their implications

Brahmadathan, K. N.; Gladstone, P.
April 2006
Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology;Apr2006, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p92
Academic Journal
journal article
Post-streptococcal sequelae, especially acute rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease continue to occur in significant proportions in many parts of the world. Despite several attempts with various intervention strategies, little success has been achieved in the control of acute rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease in India. The success of the control programmes depends upon timely primary prophylaxis with benzathine penicillin for which a microbiological confirmation of group A streptococcal pharyngitis is essential. Isolation of beta hemolytic streptococci from throat cultures and their identification as GAS in the laboratory, clinches the microbiological diagnosis while demonstration of a 'significant rise' in antibody titers such as Anti-streptolysin O and Anti-deoxyribonuclease B differentiates it from a group A streptococcal carrier state or pharyngitis of a viral etiology. Despite the easiness with which these can be achieved, many laboratories in India are not equipped to do so. Enhancing bacteriological and serological facilities in laboratories across the country will drastically improve the clinician's ability to diagnose bona fide GAS pharyngitis and help to institute penicillin prophylaxis at the appropriate time. This will go a long way in enhancing the compliance to penicillin prophylaxis which is the cornerstone of any RF/RHD control program.


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