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May 1992

Diagnosis and Management of Parotitis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992;118(5):469-471. doi:10.1001/archotol.1992.01880050015002

• Of all the salivary glands, the parotid gland is most commonly affected by an inflammatory process. Infections of the parotid gland range from acute to severe. Assessment of the disease process should differentiate local primary parotid infection from systemic infection when this gland is also involved as part of a generalized inflammatory condition. Viral parotitis can be caused by paramyxovirus (mumps), Epstein-Barr virus, coxsackievirus, and influenza A and parainfluenza viruses. Acute suppurative parotitis is generally caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus species, and, rarely, gram-negative bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria, mostly Peptostreptococcus species and Bacteroides species, and pigmented Porphyromonas species and Prevotella species have been recently recognized as an important cause of this infection. β-Lactamase–producing organisms can be isolated in almost three fourths of the patients. Predisposing factors to suppurative infections are dehydration, malnutrition, oral neoplasms, immunosuppuration, sialolithiasis, and medications that diminish salivation. Pus, aspirated from a suppurative parotic abscess, should be plated on media that are supportive for the growth of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, mycobacteria, and fungi. Early and proper antimicrobial therapy may prevent suppuration. Initial empiric therapy that is directed against both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria may be required until a specific causal diagnosis is available. Surgical drainage may be indicated when pus has formed. This may prevent complications and facilitate recovery.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992;118:469-471)

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