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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2001 Jun;22(2):177-9.

Acute necrotizing bacterial tonsillitis with Clostridium perfringens.

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Forensic Medical, Metropolitan Davidson County, Nashville, Tennessee 37210, USA.


Bacterial infection with Clostridium perfringens in children less than 2 years of age is frequently associated with meningitis, necrotizing gastrointestinal infection, and postoperative infections. However, a review of the literature reveals no reports of these bacteria infecting the tonsils. A 9-month old black female was found unresponsive at the baby-sitter's and was rushed to the hospital. Shortly after admission to the emergency department death was pronounced. An autopsy performed on this otherwise healthy infant revealed shock and acute necrotizing bacterial tonsillitis. The initial report of this infant's death was questionable sudden infant death syndrome and questionable smothering. Postmortem cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and lung cultures grew pure colonies of C. perfringens. The necrotizing tonsil revealed no significant gross lesions. Microscopically, large numbers of gram-positive rods were easily recognized and were compatible with C. perfringens. Because the oropharynx is a common portal of entry for infectious agents, it is essential to sample tissues of Waldeyer's ring and especially the tonsils to find infectious diseases that may become systemic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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