OBJECTIVE. Our aim was to describe the morbidity, medical costs, and nonmedical costs associated with group A streptococcal pharyngitis in school-aged children.
METHODS. Our study population included parents of children diagnosed as having group A streptococcal pharyngitis at 2 pediatric practice sites in the Boston, Massachusetts, metropolitan area. Telephone interviews were conducted with parents of eligible children, who were asked questions about health care utilization, medications, and time missed from work or school, for calculation of medical and nonmedical costs associated with illness.
RESULTS. One hundred thirty-five parents completed interviews between October 2005 and January 2006. Older children were significantly more likely to present with headache, compared with those ≤5 years of age. No significant differences between older and younger children were found for rates of sore throat, fever, abdominal pain/nausea/vomiting, or rash. Children missed a mean of 1.9 days (range: 0–7 days) of school/day care, and 42% of parents missed a mean of 1.8 days of work. A second parent or caregiver also missed a mean of 1.5 days in 14% of families. The total societal cost per case of group A streptococcal pharyngitis was $205 (medical: $118; nonmedical: $87).
CONCLUSIONS. The societal cost of group A streptococcal pharyngitis is substantial, with almost one half being attributable to nonmedical costs. Through extrapolation from this experience, the total cost of group A streptococcal pharyngitis among children in the United States ranges from $224 to $539 million per year.