Logo of jclinpathJournal of Clinical PathologyVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Clin Pathol. 1981 May; 34(5): 542–547.
PMCID: PMC493339

Possible role of the anaerobe in tonsillitis.


Anaerobic bacteria were isolated from all tonsils removed from children at routine tonsillectomy; 75.6% of specimens yielded moderate to heavy growth and 80% of tonsils contained more than one anaerobic species. This recovery rate fell to 56% after a 10-day course of metronidazole before tonsillectomy--in only 14.6% of cases were anaerobes isolated in significant numbers. Surface swabbing of the tonsils permitted recovery of a similar spectrum of anaerobic bacteria but resulted in an overall loss of both aerobic and anaerobic pathogens. A comparison was made between the flora of acutely inflamed tonsils and "healthy' tonsils: over 90% of both groups yielded anaerobic bacteria, but they were present in significant numbers in 56.2% of swabs taken from acutely inflamed tonsils compared with 24% of swabs from "healthy' children. The isolation rate for anerobic pathogens was 37.5% and 16% respectively.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (862K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Rosen G, Samuel J, Vered I. Surface tonsillar microflora versus deep tonsillar microflora in recurrent acute tonsillitis. J Laryngol Otol. 1977 Oct;91(10):911–913. [PubMed]
  • Everett MT. The cause of tonsillitis. Practitioner. 1979 Aug;223(1334):253–259. [PubMed]
  • Duerden BI. The isolation and identification of Bacteroides spp. from the normal human gingival flora. J Med Microbiol. 1980 Feb;13(1):89–101. [PubMed]
  • Sabiston CB, Jr, Gold WA. Anaerobic bacteria in oral infections. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1974 Aug;38(2):187–192. [PubMed]
  • Oleske JM, Starr SE, Nahmias AJ. Complications of peritonsillar abscess due to Fusobacterium necrophorum. Pediatrics. 1976 Apr;57(4):570–571. [PubMed]
  • Bradford BJ, Plotkin SA. Letter: Cervical adenitis caused by anaerobic bacteria. J Pediatr. 1976 Jun;88(6):1060–1060. [PubMed]
  • Lin RG, Arcala AE. Fusobacterium septicemia with otitis media and mastoiditis. Postgrad Med. 1975 Apr;57(4):159–160. [PubMed]
  • Beeden AG, Willis AT. A case of anaerobic middle ear infection with complications. J Laryngol Otol. 1980 Jun;94(6):659–662. [PubMed]
  • Felner JM, Dowell VR., Jr "Bacteroides" bacteremia. Am J Med. 1971 Jun;50(6):787–796. [PubMed]
  • Rosenfeld RG, Jameson S. Polymicrobial bacteremia associated with pharyngotonsillitis. J Pediatr. 1978 Aug;93(2):251–252. [PubMed]
  • Wren MW. Prolonged primary incubation in the isolation of anaerobic bacteria from clinical specimens. J Med Microbiol. 1980 May;13(2):257–263. [PubMed]
  • Hallander HO, Flodström A, Holmberg K. Influence of the collection and transport of specimens on the recovery of bacteria from peritonsillar abscesses. J Clin Microbiol. 1975 Dec;2(6):504–509. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Sprinkle PM, Veltri RW. Recurrent adenotonsillitis: a new concept. Laryngoscope. 1976 Jan;86(1):58–63. [PubMed]
  • Kelstrup J. The incidence of bacteroides melaniogenicus in human gingival sulci, and its prevalence in the oral cavity at different ages. Periodontics. 1966 Jan-Feb;4(1):14–18. [PubMed]
  • Murray PR, Rosenblatt JE. Penicillin resistance and penicillinase production in clinical isolates of Bacteroides melaninogenicus. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1977 Apr;11(4):605–608. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brown WJ, Waatti PE. Susceptibility testing of clinically isolated anaerobic bacteria by an agar dilution technique. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1980 Apr;17(4):629–635. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brook I, Calhoun L, Yocum P. Beta-lactamase-producing isolates of Bacteroides species from children. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1980 Jul;18(1):164–166. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Clinical Pathology are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Compound
    PubChem chemical compound records that cite the current articles. These references are taken from those provided on submitted PubChem chemical substance records. Multiple substance records may contribute to the PubChem compound record.
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem chemical substance records that cite the current articles. These references are taken from those provided on submitted PubChem chemical substance records.

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...