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April 1980

Metastatic Complications of Fusobacterium necrophorum Sepsis: Two Cases of Lemierre's Postanginal Septicemia

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center and the Department of Pediatrics, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago.

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(4):356-358. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.04490010014005

• We have recently encountered two instances of septicemia due to Fusobacterium necrophorum in adolescents. The presence of severe exudative pharyngitis in both patients pointed to the upper respiratory tract as the probable portal of entry. In one case, metastatic infection was manifested by multiple septic pulmonary emboli with associated pleural effusions. In the other case, diffuse encephalopathy and septic arthritis of the left shoulder and hip occurred. Unilateral neck pain, persistent bacteremia, and prolonged fever despite appropriate antibiotics were consistent with the presence of septic jugular thrombophlebitis in both patients. "Postanginal septicemia" caused by F necrophorum, described by Lemierre in the preantibiotic era, was undoubtedly the syndrome manifested by these patients. This condition, formerly uniformly fatal, can readily be diagnosed when anaerobic techniques are used for blood culture, but requires prolonged antibiotic therapy for cure.

(Am J Dis Child 134:356-358, 1980)