What is the role of lab studies in the diagnosis of pharyngitis (sore throat)?

Updated: May 06, 2020
  • Author: John R Acerra, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Laboratory studies that may be helpful include the following:

  • Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal rapid antigen detection test (preferred diagnostic method in emergency settings)

  • Throat culture (criterion standard for diagnosis of GAS infection [90-99% sensitive])

  • Mono spot (up to 95% sensitive in children; less than 60% sensitive in infants)

  • Peripheral smear

  • Gonococcal culture if indicated by the history

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