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Effectiveness of clinical guidelines for the presumptive treatment of streptococcal pharyngitis in Egyptian children.
Lancet. 1997 Sep 27; 350(9082):918-21.In developing country settings without access to bacterial culture and rapid diagnostic tests, the prevention of acute rheumatic fever depends on clinicians' presumptive treatment of streptococcal pharyngitis. This study evaluated the effectiveness of World Health Organization (WHO) acute respiratory infection guidelines in a large pediatric clinic (Abu Reesh Children's Hospital) in Cairo, Egypt. 451 children 2-13 years of age with sore throat and pharyngeal erythema were enrolled, 107 (24%) of whom had group A beta-hemolytic streptococci on throat culture. Purulent exudate, present in 99 (22%) of these children, was 31% sensitive and 81% specific for a positive culture. The WHO guidelines, which recommend treatment for pharyngeal exudate plus enlarged and tender cervical node, were 12% sensitive and 94% specific. Based on these guidelines, 13 of 107 children with a positive throat culture would correctly receive antibiotics and 323 of 344 with a negative culture would not receive antibiotics. A modified guideline in which exudate or large cervical nodes would indicate antibiotic treatment would be 84% sensitive and 40% specific. With this modification, 90 of 107 children with a positive throat culture would correctly receive antibiotics and 138 out of 344 with a negative culture would not receive treatment. However, additional prospective studies from other regions of Egypt are necessary before modified guidelines are implemented.