You might belong to one of the many labs/institutions that still routinely performs susceptibility testing on beta- haemolytic streptococci. 

Beta-haemolytic streptococci are invariably susceptible to penicillin, so unless there is a clinical history of allergy to penicillin, why bother?

Here are a few potential reasons:

  • Just in case the patient develops an allergy to penicillin, or the allergy was not mentioned on the request form.
  • That is the way we have always done it.
  • People might complain or be upset if we change.
  • It is easy to do it so we might as well.
  • It gives us epidemiological information (even though we are a diagnostic lab)
  • We might be the first lab to detect penicillin resistance.

All of the above can be potentially argued, but not very strongly, and in the meantime, someone foots the bill for virtually meaningless testing. I see the above more as excuses than reasons.

Sometimes we think the sky might fall if we change a method that is engrained in our psyche, but in my experience the sky rarely falls. In contrast such changes usually makes things brighter….


…A few labs might do it because they get paid for it (fee for service funding). However in a financially constricted Health Sector this is difficult to justify morally and demonstrates one of the main weaknesses of such a funding model.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *