acute tonsillitis

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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
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
All the patients that visited our tertiary hospital clinic with symptoms of acute tonsillitis, such as a sore throat and fever, those with peritonsillar bulging and tender cervical lymphadenopathy were suspected to have unilateral peritonsillar abscesses.
Lee, "Bilateral peritonsillar abscesses complicating acute tonsillitis," CMAJ, vol.
[10,47] In their study in India to assess the bacteriology of acute tonsillitis, Vijayashree et al.
It was JL Paradise5 who in 1983 described the criterion of recurrent acute tonsillitis. According to the criterion 7 attacks of recurrent acute tonsillitis in one year, 5 or more attacks per year for two years and 3 or more attacks per year for the last 3 years constitute an absolute indication for tonsillectomy.
Tonsillectomy versus non-surgical treatment for chronic/recurrent acute tonsillitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.
Exclusion criteria included children less than 5 years age, any nasal pathology, history of acute tonsillitis within 6 weeks and bleeding diathesis.
A postmortem showed she died from septicaemia and acute tonsillitis. Police and health officials found "unhygienic practices" at the piercing parlour, the Silverhand Jewellery centre in Castle Arcade, Cardiff.
"But I contracted acute tonsillitis and even though I was determined to travel to Edinburgh and at least start the marathon, the doctor said I would not have got very far and there were long-term health implications.
In the first case, the suspected meningitis turned out to be common flu; the second was viral meningitis, which is not serious; and the most recent case was acute tonsillitis.
Rheumatic Valve Disease often occurs in middle age as a result of juveniles suffering from the common throat condition of acute tonsillitis not being treated with antibiotics.
They represent the most common complication of acute tonsillitis; approximately 45,000 cases occur annually in the United States and Puerto Rico, and there is a 2:1 male preponderance.

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