DB’s Medical Rants has featured a number of posts about life threatening causes of sore throat. Recently he linked to a story about a St. Louis area youth who, one month after complaining of the worst sore throat in his life, died of Lemierre’s disease. The family has started a blog.
Lamierre’s syndrome is characterized by oropharyngeal infection, usually with Fusobacterium necrophorum, complicated by internal jugular vein thrombosis, bacteremia and septic emboli. While fully developed Lemierre’s disease is rare, Fusobacterium infection is underappreciated and may be involved in ten percent of simple sore throats.
Said to be an old and almost forgotten disease, Lamierre’s may be on the rise. Back in the days of indiscriminate use of antibiotics for scratchy throats we were probably snuffing out all the Fusobacterium necrophorum.