Peritonsillar abscess causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Prince Tano Djan, BSc, MBChB [2]


The cause of peritonsillar abscess is usually polymicrobial. It is predominantly caused by aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.[1] Streptococcus pyogenes is the most common cause of peritonsillar abscess.[2][1][3][4] Other common causes include; Fusobacterium necrophorum, Streptococcus milleri, Staphylococci, Haemophilus, Prevotella, Acinetobacter spp., Candida albicans, Peptostreptococcus spp., Pseudomonas spp., Enterobacter spp. and Klebsiella.[2][1]


The cause of peritonsillar abscess is usually polymicrobial. It is predominantly caused by aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.[1]

Life-threatening causes

There as no life-threatening causes of peritonsillar abscess.[2][1]

Most common cause

The most frequent pathogen of peritonsillar abscess is Streptococcus pyogenes.[2][1][3][4]

Common causes

Some common causes of peritonsillar abscess include:[2][1]

Less common causes

Less common causes of peritonsillar abscess include:[2][1]

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular No underlying causes
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect No underlying causes
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Acinetobacter, Candida albicans, Enterobacter, Fusobacterium necrophorum, Haemophilus, Klebsiella, Peptostreptococcus, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resistant Staphilococcus aureus), Streptococcus anginosus, Streptococcus milleri, Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus), Veillonella species

Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional/Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic No underlying causes
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal/Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Megalamani SB, Suria G, Manickam U, Balasubramanian D, Jothimahalingam S (2008). "Changing trends in bacteriology of peritonsillar abscess". J Laryngol Otol. 122 (9): 928–30. doi:10.1017/S0022215107001144. PMID 18039418.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Brook I (2004). "Microbiology and management of peritonsillar, retropharyngeal, and parapharyngeal abscesses". J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 62 (12): 1545–50. PMID 15573356.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Snow DG, Campbell JB, Morgan DW (1991). "The microbiology of peritonsillar sepsis". J Laryngol Otol. 105 (7): 553–5. PMID 1875138.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Matsuda A, Tanaka H, Kanaya T, Kamata K, Hasegawa M (2002). "Peritonsillar abscess: a study of 724 cases in Japan". Ear Nose Throat J. 81 (6): 384–9. PMID 12092281.

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