What distinguishes group A streptococci (GAS) from other serologic groups?

Updated: Sep 07, 2018
  • Author: Zartash Zafar Khan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Answer

Although serologic grouping by the Lancefield method is the criterion standard for differentiation of pathogenic streptococcal species, group A organisms can be identified more cost effectively by numerous latex agglutination, coagglutination, or enzyme immunoassay procedures. (See Workup.)

Group A strains can also be distinguished from other groups by their sensitivity to bacitracin. A disc that contains 0.04U of bacitracin inhibits the growth of more than 95% of group A strains, whereas 80-90% of non–group A strains are resistant to this antibiotic. The bacitracin disc test is simple to perform and interpret in an office-based laboratory and is sufficiently accurate for presumptive identification of GAS.


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