At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
To help determine whether you have had a prior strep infection with the bacteria group A Streptococcus; to help diagnose complications resulting from a recent strep infection, such as rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis, a form of kidney disease
When to Get Tested?
When you have symptoms such as fever, chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath that suggest rheumatic fever, or symptoms such as edema and dark urine that are associated with glomerulonephritis, especially when you recently may have had a group A streptococcal infection that was not diagnosed and treated appropriately; may be done along with or following an ASO test
A blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm
Test Preparation Needed?
The Test Sample
What is being tested?
Antideoxyribonuclease-B antibody (anti-DNase B) is one of the most common of several antibodies that are produced by the body's immune system in response to a strep infection with group A Streptococcus. This test measures the amount of antibody to one of the streptococcal antigens (anti-DNase B) in the blood. It may be done with or following an antistreptolysin O (ASO) test, another test to detect antibody to a streptococcal antigen.
Group A Streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes), is the bacterium responsible for causing strep throat and a variety of other infections, including skin infections (pyoderma, impetigo, cellulitis). In most cases, strep infections are identified and treated with antibiotics, and the infections resolve.
When a strep infection does not cause identifiable symptoms, goes untreated, or is treated ineffectively, however, complications (sequelae), namely rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis, can sometimes develop, especially in young children. These secondary conditions have become much less prevalent in the U.S. because of routine strep testing, but they still do occur. These conditions can cause serious complications, such as damage to the heart, acute kidney dysfunction, tissue swelling (edema), and high blood pressure (hypertension). Anti-DNase B and ASO tests can be used to help determine if these are due to a recent group A strep infection.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.
NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.
Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is needed.
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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.
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