2022

Standardisation of Epidemiological Surveillance of Group A Streptococcal Pharyngitis

Open Forum Infectious Diseases
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Abstract

Pharyngitis, more commonly known as sore throat, is caused by viral and/or bacterial infections. Group A Streptococcus (Strep A) is the most common bacterial cause of pharyngitis. Strep A pharyngitis is an acute, self-limiting disease but if undertreated can lead to suppurative complications, nonsuppurative poststreptococcal immune-mediated diseases, and toxigenic presentations. We present a standardised surveillance protocol, including case definitions for pharyngitis and Strep A pharyngitis, as well as case classifications that can be used to differentiate between suspected, probable, and confirmed cases. We discuss the current tests used to detect Strep A among persons with pharyngitis, including throat culture and point-of-care tests. The type of surveillance methodology depends on the resources available and the objectives of surveillance. Active surveillance and laboratory confirmation is the preferred method for case detection. Participant eligibility, the surveillance population and additional considerations for surveillance of pharyngitis are addressed, including baseline sampling, community engagement, frequency of screening and season. Finally, we discuss the core elements of case report forms for pharyngitis and provide guidance for the recording of severity and pain associated with the course of an episode.

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