AUSTIN EDITION Mayo implements faster, more reliable strep test
Mayo Clinic announced it began Monday using a new strep A test that gives results much sooner than the former rapid antigen/culture method. Mayo does about 30,000 strep tests a year.
The antigen test gave preliminary results in an hour but missed as many as 30 percent of strep cases. Final confirmation with a culture took 48 hours; the culture test was nearly 100 percent accurate.
With the former test, many people didn't get antibiotics as soon as they should have because so many positives were missed, said Dr. Franklin Cockerill III, a microbiologist who led the test development team. If they waited, chances of complications and a longer illness increased, he said.
It is important to get fast, accurate results so doctors don't go back to indiscriminately prescribing antibiotics for everyone with a sore throat, Cockerill said. The overuse of antibiotics has led to some bacteria becoming drug-resistant.