Pharyngitis history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Venkata Sivakrishna Kumar Pulivarthi M.B.B.S [2]


Pharyngitis is a very common inflammatory condition of the pharynx accompanied by a sore throat and occasionally difficulty with swallowing.[1] When a patient presents with sore throat, the physician must consider a wide range of illnesses. Infectious causes range from generally benign viruses to Group A streptococccus. The signs and symptoms of group A streptococcus and non-streptococcal pharyngitis overlap so broadly that accurate diagnosis on the basis of clinical grounds alone is usually impossible.[2] Inflammatory presentations may be the result of allergy, reflux disease, or rarely, neoplasm or Kawasaki disease. The optimal approach for differentiating among various causes of pharyngitis requires a problem focused history, a physical examination, and appropriate laboratory testing.[3]

History and Symptoms

The main symptom is a sore throat. Other symptoms may include:

Viral Pharyngitis[3]

Bacterial Pharyngitis

Patients with bacterial pharyngitis generally do not have rhinorrhea, cough, or conjunctivitis.[3]


  1. Cohen, J (2010). Infectious diseases. Edinburgh: Mosby/Elsevier. ISBN 978-0323045797.
  2. Shulman ST, Bisno AL, Clegg HW, Gerber MA, Kaplan EL, Lee G et al. (2012) Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis: 2012 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis 55 (10):1279-82. DOI:10.1093/cid/cis847 PMID: 23091044
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Vincent MT, Celestin N, Hussain AN (2004) Pharyngitis. Am Fam Physician 69 (6):1465-70. PMID: 15053411