(HealthDay News) – Children diagnosed with group A Streptococcus (GAS) have no need to throw away their toothbrushes, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 4–7 in Washington, DC.

Noting that practitioners tell children diagnosed with streptococcal pharyngitis to discard their toothbrushes, Lauren K. Shepard, DO, from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, and colleagues examined the prevalence of GAS on toothbrushes of ill and well children. Twenty-seven well children, 14 children with documented GAS infection, and 13 children with sore throats without strep (all aged 2–20 years) were asked to brush their teeth with a new toothbrush without toothpaste. The toothbrushes were transported to a laboratory for inoculation in broth and were swabbed onto blood agar plates.

The researchers found that GAS could be isolated from toothbrushes using this method, and that most new toothbrushes were not sterile and grew bacilli and Staphylococcus. GAS was isolated from the toothbrush of one well child but was not isolated from any of the toothbrushes from the children with GAS disease.

“This study supports that it is probably unnecessary to throw away your toothbrush after a diagnosis of strep throat,” coauthor Judith L. Rowen, MD, also from UTMB, said in a statement.

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