Acute Pharyngitis, Tonsillitis, and Peritonsillar Abscess

  • Molly L. Paras
  • Miriam B. BarshakEmail author


Most cases of pharyngitis are viral, but distinguishing viral from bacterial infections clinically is difficult. A rapid antigen detection test and/or throat culture is required to distinguish viral pharyngitis from pharyngitis due to group A Streptococcus (GAS), although a clinical scoring system can be helpful in predicting viral cases. Fusobacterium necrophorum, an anaerobe, is not identified on routine throat culture, yet it is a common cause of pharyngitis and peritonsillar abscess in adolescents and young adults. Peritonsillar abscess usually requires surgical drainage by needle aspiration or incision, in addition to antibiotic therapy. This chapter reviews the epidemiology, microbiology, clinical features, differential diagnosis, and treatment of pharyngitis and peritonsillar abscess.


Pharyngitis Tonsillitis Peritonsillar abscess Group A Streptococcus Fusobacterium necrophorum EBV HIV Mononucleosis Tonsillectomy 



The authors would like to acknowledge Ramy Elshaboury PharmD., B.C.P.S.-A.Q. I.D. for his review of Table 17.3.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Massachusetts Eye and Ear InfirmaryBostonUSA

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