The global burden of sore throat and group A Streptococcus pharyngitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Kate M. Miller, Jonathan R. Carapetis, Chris A. Van Beneden, Daniel Cadarette, Jessica N. Daw, Hannah C. Moore, David E. Bloom, Jeffrey W. Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Contemporary data for the global burden of sore throat and group A Streptococcus (Strep A) pharyngitis are required to understand the frequency of disease and develop value propositions for Strep A vaccines. Methods: We used Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science platform to search WoS core collection, PubMed, Medline, data citation index, KCI-Korean Journal Database, Russian Science Citation Index, and the SciELO Citation Index for articles published between Jan 1, 2000, and Feb 15, 2021, from any country and in any language. The risk of bias was assessed using the JBI critical appraisal checklist. We used random-effects meta-analyses to pool sore throat and Strep A sore throat incidence rates from community-based studies. Our study was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020181103). Findings: Of 5,529 articles identified by the search strategy, 26 studies met the inclusion criteria, but only two included data to determine incidence among adults. The pooled incidence rate, calculated for children only, was 82.2 episodes per 100 child-years (95% CI 25.2–286.3, I2 = 100%) for sore throat (7 studies; 7,964 person years) and 22.1 episodes per 100 child-years (95% CI 14.7–33.1, I2 = 98%) for Strep A sore throat (9 studies; 15,696 person years). The pooled cumulative incidence rate of sore throat from five studies was 31.9 per 100 children. There was significant methodological and statistical heterogeneity among studies, and five of 26 studies had a risk of bias score less than five (range: nine [maximum score] to one). Interpretation: Strep A sore throat has a considerable global burden. However, methodologically standardised studies are required to quantify that burden, analyse differences in rates between populations, and evaluate the likely impact of future Strep A vaccines. Funding: This study was funded by Wellcome Trust 215,490/Z/19/Z.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101458
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


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