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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Tonsillitis
      Category : Health Centers > Throat Disorders


Alternate Names : Acute Tonsillitis, Subacute Tonsillitis, Chronic Tonsillitis

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Tonsillitis is an inflammation or infection of the tonsils.

What is going on in the body?

The body has two sets, or pairs, of tonsils. The palatine tonsils can be seen at the back of the throat. The lingual tonsils are at the back of the tongue and cannot be seen by looking in the mouth. Tonsillitis usually means the inflammation or infection of the palatine tonsils. But sometimes the infection can involve the lingual tonsils and lymph nodes in the back of the throat.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Common causes of acute tonsillitis may include:

  • bacteria, such as streptoccal or hemophilus bacteria
  • viruses such as adenovirus or Epstein-Barr virus, which also causes mononucleosis
  • diphtheria, a serious disease that produces a false membrane in the throat. Diphtheria can be prevented by the DPT vaccine.
  • Subacute tonsillitis is most commonly caused by actinomyces, a normal mouth bacterium that can cause infection.

    In chronic tonsillitis, there is a long-standing infection that is almost always bacterial.


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    Tonsillitis: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: William Stevens, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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