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Inflammatory infection of the tonsils, usually with hemolytic streptococci (seestreptococcus) or viruses. The symptoms are sore throat, trouble in swallowing, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes on the neck. The infection, which usually lasts about five days, is treated with bed rest and antiseptic gargling. Sulfa drugs or other antibiotics are prescribed in severe bacterial infections to prevent complications. Streptococcal infection can spread to nearby structures. Complications may include abscess, nephritis, and rheumatic fever. Tonsils that become chronically inflamed and enlarged require surgical removal (tonsillectomy).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tonsillitis, visit Britannica.com.