Polymerase chain reaction for Streptococcus pyogenes used to evaluate an optical immunoassay for the detection of group A streptococci in children with pharyngitis

Gustavo Kaltwasser, Jorge Diego, Patricia L. Welby-Sellenriek, Rhonda Ferrett, Michael Caparon, Gregory A. Storch

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32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. In evaluations of sensitive rapid tests for group A streptococci such as the optical immunoassay (OIA), some samples are positive by the antigen test but negative by culture. A method is needed for resolving these discrepant results. Objective. To develop a PCR-based assay to detect group A streptococci and to use it to establish a reference standard for evaluating an OIA for group A streptococcal antigen. Methods. A PCR assay that detects a segment of the MF gene of Streptococcus pyogenes was developed for the detection of group A streptococci in throat swabs. Paired swabs were obtained from 200 children with symptomatic pharyngitis and used to perform OIA, agar culture, broth-enhanced culture and PCR. As a reference standard any patient with group A streptococci detected by either culture or PCR was considered to be truly positive. Results. In comparison to agar and broth- enhanced culture procedures, OIA had sensitivities of 82 and 80% and specificities of 87 and 89%, respectively. Eight (44%) of 18 samples that were positive by OIA but negative by culture were positive for group A streptococci by PCR. Compared with the reference standard, sensitivities were OIA 76%, agar culture 79%, broth-enhanced culture 86% and PCR 96%. The specificity of OIA was 92%. Conclusions. PCR can be used to establish a reference standard for evaluating rapid tests for group A streptococci. With this reference standard OIA was nearly as sensitive as but less specific than agar culture for detection of group A streptococci. Maximum detection requires use of both tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-753
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997

Keywords

  • Group A Streptococcus
  • Optical immunoassay
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

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