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Ann Intern Med. 2015 Feb 17;162(4):241-7. doi: 10.7326/M14-1305.

The clinical presentation of Fusobacterium-positive and streptococcal-positive pharyngitis in a university health clinic: a cross-sectional study.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pharyngitis guidelines focus solely on group A β-hemolytic streptococcal infection. European data suggest that in patients aged 15 to 30 years, Fusobacterium necrophorum causes at least 10% of cases of pharyngitis; however, few U.S. data exist.

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the prevalence of F. necrophorum; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; and group A and C/G β-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis and to determine whether F. necrophorum pharyngitis clinically resembles group A β-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional.

SETTING:

University student health clinic.

PATIENTS:

312 students aged 15 to 30 years presenting to a student health clinic with an acute sore throat and 180 asymptomatic students.

MEASUREMENTS:

Polymerase chain reaction testing from throat swabs to detect 4 species of bacteria and signs and symptoms used to calculate the Centor score.

RESULTS:

Fusobacterium necrophorum was detected in 20.5% of patients and 9.4% of asymptomatic students. Group A β-hemolytic streptococcus was detected in 10.3% of patients and 1.1% of asymptomatic students. Group C/G β-hemolytic streptococcus was detected in 9.0% of patients and 3.9% of asymptomatic students. Mycoplasma pneumoniae was detected in 1.9% of patients and 0 asymptomatic students. Infection rates with F. necrophorum, group A streptococcus, and group C/G streptococcus increased with higher Centor scores (P < 0.001).

LIMITATIONS:

The study focused on a limited age group and took place at a single institution. Asymptomatic students-rather than seasonal control participants-and a convenience sample were used.

CONCLUSION:

Fusobacterium necrophorum-positive pharyngitis occurs more frequently than group A β-hemolytic streptococcal-positive pharyngitis in a student population, and F. necrophorum-positive pharyngitis clinically resembles streptococcal pharyngitis.

PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE:

University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Justin E. Rodgers Foundation.

PMID:
25686164
DOI:
10.7326/M14-1305
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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