Background: Throat infections with Group A Streptococci have a high incidence and are, therefore, a considerable health problem. It is, therefore, desirable to distinguish this bacterial infections from viral infections of the upper respiratory tract. We report about the application of an immunologic rapid antigen detection test for Group A Streptococci and its medical and economic implications.
Methods: In a cross-sectional cohort study, 30 family physicians documented the application of the test in 519 patients. Follow-up costs were compared with 109 family physicians who did not have access to the test.
Results: 40.27% of tests performed were positive for Streptococci. 99% of those patients received antibiotic treatment - predominantly with Penicillin. From those patients who had shown a negative test result, only 18.4% received antibiotic treatment. Both patients and physicians welcomed the availability of the test. We did not find any significant difference regarding the economic effect of the test.
Conclusions: The employment of a rapid antigen detection test for Group A Streptococci in patients with acute pharyngitis increases therapeutic certitude and guideline-conform prescription of antibiotics among family physicians. We, therefore, assume that potential side effects of unnecessary antibiotic treatments could be minimized.