Fast Five Quiz: Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD


January 22, 2021

Key recommendations from the IDSA for the laboratory diagnosis of URIs include:

  • Throat specimens require a firm, thorough sampling of the throat and tonsils, avoiding cheeks, gums, and teeth.

  • Swabs are not recommended for otitis media or sinusitis. Submit an aspirate for culture.

  • Nasopharyngeal cultures cannot accurately predict the etiologic agent of sinusitis.

  • Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, Neisseria meningitidis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae are not etiologic agents of acute pharyngitis and should not be identified or reported in throat cultures.

According to the IDSA, identifying a specific etiology in patients with pharyngitis due to respiratory viruses is unnecessary because no pathogen-directed therapy for these agents is available.

Read more about the workup of URIs.


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