Gonococcal tonsillar infection--a case report and literature review

Infection. 2003 Oct;31(5):362-5. doi: 10.1007/s15010-003-4003-7.


Oral gonococcal infection is an uncommon but well-described manifestation of gonococcal infection, usually described as pharyngitis in the literature. Tonsillitis is much rarer and its role in the clinical presentation in oral gonorrhea is less clear. We describe a case of oral gonorrhea presenting with tonsillitis and a discrete cervical lymphadenopathy and present a review of the literature from 1961 to 2002. Of the 512 reported cases of oral gonococcal infection, only 61 have been described to be tonsillitis. The tonsils were invariably enlarged and infected. A whitish-yellow exudate in the cryptae was described in 12 cases (20.6%). Fever and cervical lymphadenopathy appear to be rather uncommon, since they have been described in only five (8.2%) and six (9.3%) of the 61 patients with tonsillitis, respectively. Gonococcal tonsillitis should be included in the differential diagnosis of tonsillitis in sexually active patients.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / isolation & purification*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tonsillitis / diagnosis*
  • Tonsillitis / drug therapy
  • Tonsillitis / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents