Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria. This infection is contagious and causes symptoms image like fever, severe throat pain, swelling in throat and lymph nodes located in the neck region and fatigue. Other symptoms related with the condition may include headache, body ache and vomiting in rare cases. Being a contagious infection, it is important to ensure that a positive diagnosis is made and proper treatment is started. Through strep throat test, correct diagnosis of the condition can be made.
The strep throat test, also called a throat culture is used to detect the presence of streptococcus bacteria. In this test, a throat swab is used to take a sample from the back of the throat. This sample is then placed on a plate that has special material that allows the bacteria to grow. Once the bacteria is allowed to grow, the infection can be detected through certain chemical tests. In the event the bacteria fails to grow, the culture is presumed to be negative and it is determined that the individual does not have strep throat infection.
As a part of the strep throat test, the person may be asked to tilt back his or her head and open the mouth. Once the back region of the throat is seen a cotton swab is used to rub over the back area. A tongue depressor may be used to hold down the tongue so as to get a better view of the throat. A minimal amount of discomfort may be experienced while the sample is being collected. The throat culture tests are normally ready in around 2 days.
Rapid strep test may also be done as a part of strep throat test to determine if a person has group A streotococcal infection. In fact the rapid strep test is first performed and if it is negative then a throat culture may be performance to confirm the results. The results through rapid strep test are made available in 10 to 20 minutes and if this test is positive then no further testing may be needed. Nowadays rapid tests that make use of DNA technology are also used to give definitive results in just a day or two. In these tests, DNA technology is used to identify bacteria in the throat swab and results are made available far sooner than those available through traditional throat swab test.
Besides these tests, the doctors also depend on the symptoms that are observed while making a definitive diagnosis of strep throat infection. The symptoms checked include existence of swelling in lymph nodes, redness and presence of white streaks on tonsils along with other symptoms like fever and fatigue.