acute tonsillitis

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

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 ?
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.
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.
COVENTRY forward Carl Rimmer is recovering at home after spending the weekend in hospital with acute tonsillitis.
During followup, he experienced two episodes of febrile convulsion and acute tonsillitis.
She was taken to hospital, given antibiotics for acute tonsillitis and sent home.
1%)had experienced four to six attacks of acute tonsillitis during the first year after their discharge, and they subsequently underwent tonsillectomy after being referred back to the ENT clinic by their general practitioners.
Just 20 minutes after the emergency call a paediatric specialist arrived, diagnosed acute tonsillitis and prescribed treatment.

Full browser ?