Lemierre's syndrome (or Lemierre's disease) is a disease caused by the bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum, and usually affects young, healthy adults. more...
The first symptoms are just a sore throat, but after a couple of weeks this is followed by fever, rigors, swollen cervical lymph nodes and septicemia (infection of the blood) which can cause complications in other parts of the body including abscesses of lung and other organs, kidney failure and also effects on liver and joints if untreated.
Lemierre's syndrome is easily treated with antibiotics, but because sore throats are most commonly caused by viruses, for which antibiotic treatment is unnecessary, such treatment is not usual in the first phase of the disease. Lemierre's Disease proves that, rarely, antibiotics are sometimes needed for 'sore throats'.
Lemierre's syndrome is currently a very rare disease, but was quite common in the early 20th century before the discovery of penicillin. The reduced use of routine antibiotics for sore throats by doctors may have increased the risk of this disease, with 19 cases in 1997 and 34 cases in 1999 reported in the UK.
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