How does the prevalence of pharyngitis (sore throat) vary by age?

Updated: May 06, 2020
  • Author: John R Acerra, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Pharyngitis occurs with much greater frequency in the pediatric population. Approximately 15-30% of sore throats in children are caused by group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal (GABHS) infections, compared with 5-15% of adults. [2, 9]

The peak incidence of bacterial and viral pharyngitis occurs in the school-aged child aged 4-7 years, with GABHS occurring primarily in patients aged 5-15 years. Pharyngitis, especially GAS infection, is rare in children younger than 3 years.

In a study of 3098 pediatric patients with pharyngitis, Nishiyama et al found the prevalence of GAS pharyngitis to be 1.2% in patients below age 1 year and 3.9% in patients aged 1 year. [10]

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