Chronic streptococcal and non-streptococcal pharyngitis

Infect Disord Drug Targets. 2012 Aug;12(4):281-5. doi: 10.2174/187152612801319311.


Pharyngitis is a common medical problem in the outpatient medical setting, resulting in more than seven million pediatric visits each year. Most types of pharyngitis are caused by infectious etiologies. The most common cause of pharyngitis is viral infection; however, some of the more serious types of pharyngitis are attributed to bacterial etiologies, such as group A β-hemolytic Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS). Complications from GAS pharyngitis include rheumatic fever, deep space abscesses, and toxic shock. Although most episodes of pharyngitis are acute in nature, a small percentage becomes recurrent or chronic. With regards to chronic pharyngitis, non-infectious etiologies, such as laryngopharyngeal reflux and periodic fever, aphthous ulcers, pharyngitis, and adenitis syndrome also need to be considered. Both medical and surgical therapies are effective in managing pharyngitis. First-line medical therapy includes antibiotic therapy. For certain indications, surgical management via adenotonsillectomy is recommended. Adenotonsillectomy has been shown to be effective in reducing disease burden and improving disease-specific and global quality of life. Several techniques for adenotonsillectomy exist, including traditional and intracapsular tonsillectomies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Pharyngitis / diagnosis
  • Pharyngitis / etiology*
  • Pharyngitis / therapy
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes*
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Virus Diseases / complications