New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggests that Fusobacterium necrophorum more often causes severe sore throats in young adults than streptococcus — the cause of the much better known strep throat. The findings, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest physicians should consider F. necrophorum when treating severe sore throat, known as pharyngitis, in young adults and adolescents that worsens.
In an analysis of 312 college students at UAB’s Student Health Clinic, investigators found that F. necrophorum was detected in more than 20 percent of patients with sore-throat symptoms, against only 10 percent for Group A strep and 9 percent for Group C or G strep.
“This is the first study in the United States that shows that F. necrophorum causes a significant number of cases of pharyngitis in this young adult population,” said Robert M. Centor, M.D., professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine in the UAB School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. “It is also the first to show that F. necrophorum pharyngitis and streptococcus pharyngitis share similar clinical signs. This study bolsters our understanding that this condition is common in the U.S. and very closely resembles strep throat.”
Centor says that F. necrophorum pharyngitis is the leading cause of a rare but potentially very dangerous condition known as the Lemierre’s syndrome. The syndrome affects mostly adolescents and young adults and is seen rarely in pre-adolescents. It often causes long, complex hospitalizations requiring intensive care, and about 6 percent of those contracting the Lemierre’s syndrome die.
Read the rest of the UAB news release HERE