Efficacy of Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Intrafamilial Transmission of Group A β-Hemolytic Streptococci

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Abstract

Background:

The role of chemoprophylaxis for household contacts of patients with acute streptococcal disease is uncertain.

Methods:

The subjects were 1440 sibling contacts of 1181 index patients with group A β-hemolytic streptococcal (GABHS) pharyngitis. Instances of subsequent GABHS pharyngitis in sibling contacts who received chemoprophylaxis and in a control group without prophylaxis were compared.

Results:

Of the 948 siblings in the prophylaxis group, 507 were treated with cephalosporins and 441 were treated with penicillins for 3 to 5 days. Subsequent GABHS pharyngitis occurred within 30 days in 28 (3.0%) of the 948 siblings in the prophylaxis group and in 26 (5.3%) of the 492 siblings in the control group. Among siblings in the prophylaxis group, subsequent GABHS pharyngitis occurred in 9 (1.8%) of the 507 siblings in the cephalosporin prophylaxis group and in 19 (4.3%) of the 441 siblings in the penicillin prophylaxis group. When these data were each compared with that in the control group (5.3%), a significant statistical difference was seen in the cephalosporin prophylaxis group (P = 0.003) but not in the penicillin prophylaxis group (P = 0.542). Only 5-day cephalosporin prophylaxis showed significant reduction in the rate of subsequent GABHS pharyngitis compared with that in the control group (P = 0.002).

Conclusions:

In view of the low incidence of subsequent GABHS pharyngitis in the nonprophylaxis group, the usual self-limited nature of GABHS pharyngitis, the cost of prophylaxis and the risk for selecting resistant flora, routine chemoprophylaxis against GABHS pharyngitis for sibling contacts is not recommended.

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