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Population-Based Prevalence of Repeated Group A β-Hemolytic Streptococcal Pharyngitis Episodes

      OBJECTIVE

      To define the population-based 3-year period prevalence of repeated group A β-hemolytic streptococcal (GABHS) pharyngitis episodes in children between 4 and 15 years of age.

      PATIENTS AND METHODS

      Residents of Rochester, Minn (age, 4-15 years), who had 3 or more GABHS pharyngitis episodes in 1 year, at least 1 month apart, between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 1998, were identified using the resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project (N=536). Pharyngitis episodes (evidence of a sore throat with or without presence of fever) followed by either a positive rapid streptococcus test result or a positive plate culture test result were considered positive GABHS episodes. Age- and sex-specific prevalence rates were calculated, assuming that all residents 4 to 15 years of age in Rochester during 1996 to 1998 were at risk.

      RESULTS

      A total of 208 children met our definition for repeated GABHS episodes between 1996 and 1998 and were included in this study. Approximately 1% of children between the ages of 4 and 15 years experienced repeated GABHS pharyngitis episodes between 1996 and 1998. This estimate increased to approximately 2% among children 4 to 6 years of age and decreased to 0.1% among children 13 to 15 years old.

      CONCLUSION

      A relatively small proportion (1%) of children between 4 and 15 years of age experienced repeated GABHS episodes in a 3-year period; however, this proportion represents a substantial number of children who are affected at the population level. Given the increased costs associated with treating repeated GABHS episodes, further studies are necessary to determine how best to reduce episodes and treatment costs in this age group.
      CI (confidence interval), GABHS (group A β-hemolytic streptococcal), REP (Rochester Epidemiology Project)
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      Linked Article

      • Strep Throat Over and Over: How Frequent? How Real?
        Mayo Clinic ProceedingsVol. 81Issue 9
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          Acute pharyngitis is one of the most common illnesses for which children visit pediatricians and other primary care physicians.1,2 Between 15% and 30% of pharyngitis episodes are reported to be associated with group A streptococcus (GAS)3; some of these patients experience repetitive symptomatic bouts of sore throat associated with positive test results for GAS. In this issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, St. Sauver et al4 used the database of the Rochester Epidemiology Project to estimate a population-based period prevalence of recurring GAS pharyngitis episodes for the years 1996 to 1998.
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