Centor Criteria: Antibiotics or Not?


The Centor score is an appropriate screening method for acute tonsillitis but limited to patients of at least 15 years of age. The Centor score uses 4 signs and symptoms and a scale of 0 to 4 for diagnosis.

  1. history of fever > 38oC,
  2. absence of a cough,
  3. swollen and tender anterior cervical lymph nodes, and
  4. tonsillar exudates or swelling

Both the sensitivity and specificity of this prediction rule are 75%, compared with throat cultures. Antibiotics are advised if the Centor score is 3 or above.


Emergency Medicine Kenya Foundation