Throat culture

A throat culture is a laboratory diagnostic test that evaluates for the presence of a bacterial or fungal infection in the throat. A sample from the throat is collected by swabbing the throat and placing the sample into a special cup (culture) that allows infections to grow. If an organism grows, the culture is positive and the presence of an infection is confirmed. The type of infection is found using a microscope, chemical tests, or both. If no infection grows, the culture is negative. Common infectious organisms tested for by a throat culture include Candida albicans known for causing thrush and Group A streptococcus known for causing strep throat, scarlet fever, and rheumatic fever. Throat cultures are more sensitive than the rapid strep test (70%) for diagnosing strep throat, but are nearly equal in terms of specificity.


A throat culture is a laboratory diagnostic test that evaluates for the presence of a bacterial or fungal infection in the throat. A sample from the throat is collected by swabbing the throat and placing the sample into a special cup (culture) that allows infections to grow. If an organism grows, the culture is positive and the presence of an infection is confirmed. The type of infection is found using a microscope, chemical tests, or both. If no infection grows, the culture is negative. Common infectious organisms tested for by a throat culture include Candida albicans known for causing thrush and Group A streptococcus known for causing strep throat, scarlet fever, and rheumatic fever. Throat cultures are more sensitive than the rapid strep test (70%) for diagnosing strep throat, but are nearly equal in terms of specificity.
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