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An acute inflammation of the pharynx is called “pharyngitis”. This is either produced by a viral or bacterial infection. There may just be painful swallowing and a sore throat, but there may be a membrane in the back of the throat and lymph node swelling underneath the chin. The physician may want to take a throat culture as it can be difficult to know whether this clinical entity is due to a virus or bacterium.

The organisms isolated can be group A Streptococcus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae and on occasion even gonorrhea.


This consists initially of penicillin V 250 mg four times daily for 10 days until the culture report comes back. This way rheumatic fever from group A Streptococcus can be avoided.

The final culture report may sway the physician to change the therapy according to the sensitivity testing (Ref. 4).




1. The Merck Manual: Bacterial Tracheitis (thanks to for this link)

2. TC Dixon et al. N Engl J Med 1999 Sep 9;341(11):815-826.

3. F Charatan BMJ 2000 Oct 21;321(7267):980.

4. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse   Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 43.

5. JR Zunt and CM Marra  Neurol Clinics Vol.17, No.4,1999: 675-689.

6. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse   Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 162.

7. LE Chapman : Antivir Ther 1999; 4(4): 211-19.

8. HW Cho: Vaccine 1999 Jun 4; 17(20-21): 2569-2575.

9. DO Freedman et al. Med Clinics N. Amer. Vol.83, No 4 (July 1999):     865-883.

10. SP Fisher-Hoch et al. J Virol 2000 Aug; 74(15): 6777-6783.

11. Mandell: Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 5th ed., ©   2000 Churchill Livingstone, Inc.

12. Goldman: Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 21st ed., Copyright © 2000   W. B. Saunders Company

13. PE Sax: Infect DisClinics of N America Vol.15, No 2 (June 2001):   433-455.

14. David Heymann, MD, Editor: Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 18th Edition, 2004, American Public Health Association.

Last modified: October 1, 2014

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.