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Acute Onset Sore Throat

Patient ≥ 3 years of age with acute onset sore throat


GAS is the most common cause of bacterial pharyngitis in children and adolescents. It accounts for 14 to 30 percent of all cases of pharyngitis in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years (up-to-date, 2016), and peaks at 7 to 8 years of age. The incidence of GAS pharyngitis is highest during the winter and early spring. During these seasons, GAS causes up to 35 to 40 percent of cases of pharyngitis in children and adolescents (up-to-date, 2016). GAS pharyngitis is most common in school-age children but may occur in younger children, especially if they have close contact with school-age children who present to an outpatient clinic or emergency department with sore throat is around 37 percent. The prevalence amoung children <5 years is around 24 percent (up-to-date, 2016). Up to 70 percent of only 20 to 30 percent are likely to have GAS pharyngitis (Shulman, 2012).

These guidelines do not establish a standard of care to be followed in every case. It is recognized that each case is different and those individuals involved in providing health care are expected to use their judgment in determining what is in the best interests of the patient based on the circumstances existing at the time. It is impossible to anticipate all possible situations that may exist and to prepare guidelines for each. Accordingly these guidelines should guide care with the understanding that departures from them may be required at times.