For a rapid strep test, the throat and tonsils are swabbed to collect bacteria from the infected area for testing. The bacteria are analyzed to see whether Group A strep (streptococcal) bacteria are causing the sore throat.
A good sample of throat secretions is needed to make sure the test is accurate. A person must remain very still during the procedure so that the doctor is able to collect enough secretions for an accurate test.
Results of a rapid strep test are available in 10 to 15 minutes.
A rapid strep test may be done in the following cases:
In general, it is not necessary to test people who have been exposed to strep throat but do not have any symptoms.
Findings of a rapid strep test may include the following.
A normal or negative test means that strep bacteria may not be present.
An abnormal or positive strep test means that strep bacteria are present.
The rapid strep test costs less than a throat culture and may diagnose strep throat quickly.
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