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BMC Infect Dis. 2015 Jul 10;15:264. doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-0975-z.

Tonsillar colonisation of Fusobacterium necrophorum in patients subjected to tonsillectomy.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Central Hospital, Växjö, SE-351 85, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Central Hospital, Växjö, SE-351 85, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Family Medicine, Lund University, SE-205 02, Malmö, Sweden.
Unit for Research and Development, Kronoberg County Council, SE-352 12, Växjö, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Central Hospital, Växjö, SE-351 85, Sweden.
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro University, SE-701 82, Örebro, Sweden.



Fusobacterium necrophorum is a well-known cause of Lemirre's disease and accumulating evidence support its pathogenic role in peritonsillar abscess while its role in recurrent and chronic tonsillitis is uncertain. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of oropharyngeal colonisation with F. necrophorum and Beta-haemolytic streptococci in a cohort of patients scheduled for tonsillectomy due to recurrent or persistent throat pain, and to evaluate the dynamics of colonisation with repeated sampling during a follow-up time of 6 to 8 months.


Fifty-seven (57) patients aged 15-52 years scheduled for tonsillectomy due to chronic/recurrent tonsillitis or recurrent peritonsillar abscess were included. Throat swabs for the detection of F. necrophorum and Beta-haemolytic streptococci and clinical data was collected at inclusion, at the time of surgery and 6 to 8 months after surgery. Statistical analysis was performed using the Chi-square, Fisher's exact and Mc Nemar tests.


Fusobacterium necrophorum was found in 28, 30 and 16% of the patients at inclusion, surgery and follow up respectively. The corresponding results for beta-haemolytic streptococci were 5, 9 and 5%. Patients colonised with F. necrophorum at follow-up, after tonsillectomy, were equally relieved from their previous throat pain as non-colonised patients. Looking at individual patients, the culture results for F. necrophorum varied over time, indicating a transient colonisation.


Fusobacterium necrophorum was frequently found in throat cultures in this cohort of patients with recurrent or chronic throat pain leading to tonsillectomy. Colonisation was equally frequent in the asymptomatic cohort post-tonsillectomy, indicating that F. necrophorum is not alone causative of the symptoms. In an individual perspective, colonisation with F. necrophorum was transient over time.

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