I. Bacterial pharyngitis:
- Group A Streptococcal pharyngitis: 5-15% of pharyngitis cases, S. pyogenes. Centor Criteria: GABHS-suggestive manifestations include fever (> 38°C or 100.4°F), tender anterior cervical adenopathy, lack of cough, and pharyngotonsillar exudate.
- Rapid streptococci screening for GABHS has 90% to 99% sensitivity. If negative and group A streptococci is still suspected, throat culture is gold standard
- Rheumatic fever and post-strep glomerulonephritis.
- Consider gonorrhea pharyngitis in patients with recent sexual encounters, or with non-resolving pharyngitis.
II. Viral Pharyngitis
- Less likely exudative: CMV, EBV (mononucleosis), adenovirus (most common), influenza, herpes simplex
- Infectious mononucleosis: Caused by Epstein Barr virus, characterized by malaise, fever, severe sore throat, splenomegaly
- Rash with penicillins
- Diagnosed by atypical lymphocytes, heterophile agglutination test (monospot)
- Splenic rupture possible with trauma/contact sports
III. Fungal Pharyngitis
- Common in patients using inhaled steroids – counsel patients to rinse mouth after use of inhaled steroids.
Throat culture is the gold standard for diagnosis
Group A Streptococcal pharyngitis: Intramuscular (IM) penicillin can be used if patient compliance is in doubt. Otherwise, an oral penicillin or cefuroxime can be used. Erythromycin or another macrolide can be substituted in cases of penicillin allergy.
- Inadequate treatment can lead to complications such as scarlet fever, glomerulonephritis, and abscess formation.
Infectious mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus): Symptomatic and avoid contact sports (splenic rupture), steroids if respiratory distress. Ampicillin and amoxicillin cause rash.
Gonorrhea pharyngitis: Treatment of pharyngeal infection follows the same principles for the approach to therapy of uncomplicated urogenital gonococcal infections, with a preferred regimen of intramuscular ceftriaxone (250 mg) and azithromycin as a second agent.
|Penicillin, derived from the Penicillium fungi, is the first antibiotic that successfully treated previously deemed critical diseases such as syphilis, staphylococcus and streptococcus infections. There are different forms of penicillin such as penicillin G, penicillin V, benzathine penicillin, etc. All penicillins are beta-lactam antibiotics, and they are still widely used today for gram positive organisms and spirochetes.
Penicillin works via a few different mechanisms. First, it binds to the penicillin-binding protein (PBP), which is also known as the enzyme transpeptidase, to disrupt normal bacterial cell wall synthesis. Penicillin blocks transpeptidase (PBP), a critical enzyme involved in the peptidoglycan cross linking in the bacterial cell wall. This causes bacterial death from osmotic pressure induced cytolysis. Penicillin’s small size allows it to penetrate deeply into the cell wall. Another mechanism is that penicillin activates autolytic enzymes in the bacteria to cause cell death. This antibiotic is classified as bactericidal because it actually causes bacterial cell death.
Common adverse reactions from penicillin include hypersensitivity reactions. High doses of penicillin can also induce immune mediated hemolysis due to a hapten mechanism, which is when the antibodies target the combination of penicillin in association with the red blood cells and activate complements to induce hemolysis and removal of red blood cells.
Antibiotics are not indicated in the treatment infectious mononucleosis, or Epstein-Barr virus infections.
See A for explanation.
Acyclovir is not approved for use in treatment of EBV, although it is active against the EBV in vitro and in vivo. It may be used in certain patients with AIDS, but has not been shown to affect the outcome of EBV in these patients.
Epstein-Barr virus presents with enlarged tonsils with exudates and petechiae of the palate.Epstein-Barr virus presents with enlarged tonsils with exudates and petechiae of the palate.
Group C Streptococcus
Group C Streptococcus presents with a red pharynx and enlarged tonsils with a yellow, blood tinged exudates
Neisseria gonorrhea of the pharynx may be asymptomatic