acute tonsillitis

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acute tonsillitis

Etymology: L, acutus, sharp, tonsilla; Gk, itis, inflammation
an inflammation of one or both tonsils associated with a catarrhal exudate over the tonsil or the discharge of caseous or suppurative material from the tonsillar crypts.

acute tonsillitis

Inflammation of the lymphatic tissue of the pharynx, esp. the palatine or faucial tonsils. It may occur sporadically or in epidemic form, and usually is self-limiting.


Throat pain, esp. while swallowing, is the cardinal symptom of tonsillitis; fever and malaise are common. Abrupt-onset headache, nausea and vomiting, and cervical lymphadenopathy are more commonly seen with streptococcal infections. Rhinorrhea, cough, and diarrhea are usually associated with viral infection. The tonsils are usually enlarged and red, but the degree of erythema does not reflect the severity of the pain. An exudate is often, but not always, present on the tonsils. Adolescents should be assessed for infectious mononucleosis, as it is quite common among teenagers and young adults.


Viruses are the most common cause of tonsillitis. Beta-hemolytic streptococci infections may follow viral infections or occur as primary infections, esp. in school-aged children and immunocompromised adults (5% to 20% of cases).


Viral tonsillitis is treated symptomatically. If group A beta-hemolytic streptococci infection is suspected, a throat culture is taken. Streptococcal tonsillitis must be treated with a 10-day course of oral penicillin or one intramuscular dose of long-acting benzathine penicillin to decrease the risk of rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis. Rheumatic fever develops 2 to 3 weeks after streptococcal infections in about 3% of patients. If chronic tonsillitis occurs, the tonsils may be removed, but this operation is not as common as it was years ago. See: rheumatic fever

See also: tonsillitis
References in periodicals archive ?
Clinical and bacteriological study of acute tonsillitis.
Patients of sleep apnea syndrome due to prominent tonsils and history of recurrent acute tonsillitis were also included.
The improvements in quality of life show that tonsillectomy for recurrent acute tonsillitis is both clinically effective and cost effective for both children and adults.
Ciliocytophthoria (CCP) in nasopharyngeal smear from patients with acute tonsillitis.
10] Other mistaken diagnosis include acute tonsillitis, hyperthyroidism, hemorrhage into the cyst, nodular goiter, thyroid abscess, and rarely thyroid carcinoma, as rapidly growing thyroid cancer may be painful and tender.
The commonest indications for tonsillectomy in children are recurrent episodes of incapacitating acute tonsillitis that result in significant loss of school or work.
Kate Atkins, a member of CVLC was unable to join them as planned as she contracted acute tonsillitis.
The pathologist's review of the specimens revealed that in only 1 patient did the presence of actinomycosis evoke a minor cryptitis, and in 3 patients there was an associated acute tonsillitis.
However, I am worried by some of the other NICE proposals - in particular the blanket guideline not to prescribe antibiotics for acute (short-term) ear infections, acute tonsillitis and acute bronchitis.
Virtually everyone has had acute tonsillitis at some point during growing up.
Codes that did not correlate with positive specimen trends included acute tonsillitis and throat pain.
Finally, the intraoral appearance of severe acute tonsillitis or infectious mononucleosis can be quite similar to that of bilateral peritonsillar abscess, and these conditions should be differentiated by imaging studies when the diagnosis is unclear.

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