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BET 1: Can inflammatory markers distinguish streptococcal from viral tonsillitis?


A short-cut review was performed to evaluate whether inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), white cell count (WCC) and procalcitonin (PCT) are able to discriminate between streptococcal and viral tonsillitis, enabling a reduction in the overuse of antibiotics. Eight studies with a total of 1031 participants were found. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of these papers are tabulated. The clinical bottom line is that WCC, CRP and PCT levels are higher in patients with streptococcal tonsillitis compared to patients with tonsillitis or pharyngitis without group A streptococcus isolated from a throat swab. Which of these markers has the best test performance characteristics requires further study.

  • Tonsillitis
  • group A Streptococcus
  • pharyngitis
  • C reactive protein
  • procalcitonin
  • infectious diseases
  • infectious diseases
  • viral
  • infectious diseases
  • bacterial
  • paediatrics

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  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.