This week, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) published newly revised guidelines for Group A streptococcal pharyngitis, or “strep,” in the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

About 15 million people see the doctor every year complaining of a sore throat – but fewer than a third have strep throat (20-30% of children and 5-15% of adults). Regardless, up to 70% unnecessarily receive antibiotics.

The following are highlighted by the IDSA guideline panel:

Most throat infections are not caused by Group A streptococcus but by viruses, and therefore don’t require antibiotics, according to new guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

For confirmed strep infections, penicillin or amoxicillin are the antibiotic of choice, except in those who are allergic.

Children who suffer from strep throat and have recurrent throat infections should not have their tonsils surgically removed for that reason alone, except in very specific cases (such as a child who has obstructive breathing). Risks of surgery generally don’t outweigh transient benefit.

Children and adults do not need to be tested for strep if they have a cough, runny nose, hoarseness and mouth sores, which are strong signs of a viral throat infection.

Symptoms of strep include pain that comes on suddenly, swallowing hurts, and fever without cold symptoms. Strep should still be confirmed through testing before antibiotics are prescribed.

 “The guidelines promote accurate diagnosis and treatment, particularly in avoiding the inappropriate use of antibiotics, which contributes to drug-resistant bacteria,” said lead author Stanford T. Shulman, MD, in a recent press release by the IDSA.

A podcast featuring the lead author and the full guidelines are available free on the IDSA website at

Physician’s Weekly wants to know…do you find yourself pressured by patients to give them an antibiotic for their sore throat?