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Respir Med Case Rep


© 2019 The Authors Fusobacterium necrophorum plays a causal role in a rare and life-threatening condition, Lemierre's syndrome. It is characterized by infection involving the posterior compartment of the lateral pharyngeal space complicated by septic suppurative thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein with F. necrophorum bacteremia and metastatic abscesses, primarily to the lung and pulmonary septic emboli. Herein, we present a very rare case of oropharyngeal infection complicated by Lemierre's syndrome with characteristic septic emboli to the lungs presenting as sore throat in a previously healthy patient. A 23-year-old woman presented with sore throat and was found to be in sepsis and acute kidney injury. She was found to have septic emboli in lung and Streptococcus anginosus and F. necrophorum in blood. She was diagnosed with Lemierre's syndrome and successfully treated with antibiotics. Lemierre's syndrome should be included in the differential diagnosis in young patients who deteriorate in the setting of a sore throat. If the suspicion is high, throat swabs from young patients with nonstreptococcal group A tonsillitis should be cultured anaerobically on selective medium to detect the presence of F. necrophorum. While clinicians of the infectious disease team may be familiar with this condition other departments including internal medicine and critical care team may less so. Unless clinicians are aware of this syndrome, diagnosis and treatment can be delayed leading to higher morbidity and mortality.

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Faculty, Northwell Researcher


School of Medicine; Northwell Health

Primary Department

Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine