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Pharyngitis in Adults: The Presence and Coexistence of Viruses and Bacterial Organisms

Pentti Huovinen, MD; Lahtonen Riitta, MD; Ziegler Thedi, MSc; Olli Meurman, MD; Kati Hakkarainen, MD; Ari Miettinen, MD; Pertti Arstila, MD; Jussi Eskola, MD; and Saikku Pekka, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Grant Support: Partial support by the Farmos Corporation, Turku, Finland, and by the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, Finland.

Requests for Reprints: Pentti Huovinen, MD, Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Turku, 20520 Turku, Finland.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Huovinen: Department of Medical Microbiology, and Drs. Meurman and Arstila, and Mr. Ziegler: Department of Virology, University of Turku, 20520 Turku, Finland.

Dr. Lahtonen: Health Center Pulssi, 20100 Turku, Finland.

Drs. Hakkarainen and Miettinen: Department of Biomedical Sciences, SF-33101 Tampere, Finland.

Dr. Eskola: Department of Microbiology, Aurora Hospital, SF 00250 Helsinki, Finland.

Dr. Saikku: Department of Virology, University of Helsinki, SF 00290 Helsinki, Finland.

©1989 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1989;110(8):612-616. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-110-8-612
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Study Objective: To determine the presence and coexistence of viruses and bacterial organisms causing pharyngitis in adults.

Design: Open study using diagnostic methods, including rapid antigen-detection techniques, to test for the presence of viruses of the respiratory tract, as well as Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia trachomatis, the Chlamydia species strain TWAR, and beta-hemolytic streptococci.

Setting: Open health care.

Patients: One hundred six consecutive adult patients, 15 to 65 years old, whose chief complaint was sore throat.

Main results: Of the 106 patients, beta-hemolytic streptococci were found in only 24 patients (5 patients with group A streptococci, 13 with group C, 5 with group G, and 1 with group F); M. pneumoniae was found in 10 patients, the Chlamydia species strain TWAR in 9 patients, and viruses in 27 patients. Two microbes were simultaneously isolated in 3 patients, and no microbial findings were detected in 33 patients.

Conclusion: Because 19 patients were infected with the Chlamydia species strain TWAR and M. pneumoniae, and 24 patients were infected with beta-hemolytic streptococci, the diagnostic procedures and therapies for adult patients with pharyngitis need to be reconsidered. The results of our study also confirm earlier suggestions that the Chlamydia species strain TWAR alone is a causative agent for pharyngitis in adults.


pharyngitis ; viruses





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