Diagnosis and treatment of pharyngitis in children

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;52(3):729-47, vi. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2005.02.004.


Acute pharyngitis is one of the most common illnesses for which children visit primary care physicians. Most cases of acute pharyngitis in children are caused by viruses and are benign and self-limited. Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus is the most important of the bacterial causes of acute pharyngitis. Strategies for diagnosis and treatment of acute pharyngitis are directed at distinguishing children with viral pharyngitis, who would not benefit from antimicrobial therapy, from children with group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis, for whom antimicrobial therapy would be beneficial. Making this distinction is crucial in attempting to minimize the unnecessary use of antimicrobial agents in children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Carrier State
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Latex Fixation Tests
  • Patient Selection
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Pharyngitis / diagnosis*
  • Pharyngitis / epidemiology
  • Pharyngitis / etiology
  • Pharyngitis / therapy*
  • Physical Examination
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Recurrence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Streptococcal Infections / therapy
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Treatment Failure
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Unnecessary Procedures


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents