This is a disease that is usually caused by Fusobacterium Necrophorum & most often affects young, healthy adults. It creates a peritonsillar abscess, a blood clot, filled with bacteria near the tonsils in the jugular vein. If this infection is not caught in time the blood clot will start to break apart & travel to the lungs & other major organs.
This serious illness was first reported in humans over a century ago as "Post Anginal Septicemia".
In 1936 this disease was named after Dr. Andre Lemierre. He was the first person to report that the illness is caused by Fusobacterium. In the preantibiotic era the mortality rate was 90%. Dr Lemierre identified abscesses associated with this disease in the mouth, ear, appendix soft tissue & urinary tract areas.
Lemierre's Syndrome does not infect only 1 organ. With every case it is different. It can infect the Lungs, Heart, Brain, Kidneys, Liver & joint areas.
This is NOT a contagious disease. Everyone has the bacteria in the soft tissue. Dr's are still not clear on how it enters the blood stream some believe it to be due to trauma.
A doctor can diagnose Lemierre's syndrome by reviewing symptoms, taking diagnostic imaging scans of the neck, and analyzing lab results of blood tests. Computerized tomography scans and ultrasounds of the neck reveal extensive inflammation of the pharynx and blood clotting in the jugular vein. If infection has spread to the lungs or lymph nodes, imaging tests can be used to gauge the extent of damage. Blood cultures that are positive for F. necrophorum help to confirm the diagnosis. If you walk into your Dr.'s office and say "I think I have Lemierre's Syndrome" or "Test me for Lemierre's" he will look at you like you have a 3rd head. Many Dr.'s have never even heard of this disease. Explain your symptoms and let him know exactly how you feel and what you feel you have.
This illness can be treated with Antibiotics such as penicillin, clindamycin or metronidazole along with 4 to 6 week hospital stay for further observation and testing. Blood thinners may also be given to break up existing clots and reduce the risk of future obstructions. Upon discharge of the hospital patients have 6 weeks of administered penicillin through a PIC Line. Possible drainage of the Blood Clot in the jugular vein. Everyone's case is different in length & severity. Many patients are followed up with major surgeries, transplants or other long term side effects.
Lemierre's Syndrome is also known as:
The Forgotten Disease Lemierre's Disease L.S. OR L.D.
Severe Sore Throat
General Body Weakness
Shortness of Breath
Pneumonia & Strep Throat like symptoms
Tenderness in the front and side of the neck
After the infection starts to set in (could be a week or two) the symptoms become worst & include:
Spiked HIGH fever
Swollen Lymph nodes in the neck area