Performing a throat culture or strep test with the use of a throat swab can detect the presence of group A streptococcus bacteria. This is the cause of strep throat that is most common. These bacteria are also responsible for other infections such as tonsillitis, meningitis and pneumonia. A sample that is taken from the back of the throat and placed on a special plate will allow the bacteria to grow inside the lab.
Chemical tests are used to determine the specific kind of infection. If the bacteria will not develop, the culture is negative and the individual will not have the strep throat infection. Strep throat is a bacterial infection which will affect the back of the throat and tonsils. These areas become irritated and swollen and will lead to sore throat that is particularly inconvenient when swallowing. You will also see white or yellow spots or coating on areas like tonsils and throat while the lymph nodes at the sides of the neck are swollen.
School-age children are most commonly affected with strep throat. The infection will result to nausea, vomiting, listlessness, stomachaches and headaches. But strep throat infections will not show typical cold symptoms like runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing. Even if the strep throat symptoms will go away after a couple of days with no direct treatment, the doctors would often prescribe antibiotics.
This is to prevent associated complication like rheumatic fever. This will also reduce the length of time an individual is contagious. The throat culture test is helpful in determining the cause of sore throat. More often than not, sore throat is due to a virus. Yet, a throat culture will determine if strep bacteria are the definite cause in order for the doctors to administer proper treatment.
A positive result of rapid strep test will indicate the presence of group A streptococci. This is the bacteria responsible for strep throat. A negative result of the rapid test would mean that the person affected does not have strep throat. Nevertheless, the possibility cannot be ruled out until a throat culture is performed in the laboratory. The person undergoing the test has the strep throat if the throat culture comes out positive for group A streptococci. If it comes out negative, most likely, the sore throat is a result of viral infection which will work out by itself.