Assume Nothing...

Some things are not always at they appear


Since there are many diseases which appear similar, it is sometimes difficult to properly diagnose mono. The common presenting symptoms of the disease are headache, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes-especially in the neck, lethargy and a loss of appetite.

Then it progresses to fever, complete with chills and sweats, and often pain in the abdomen which may indicate a problem with the liver and/or spleen.

The forgotten disease: Lemierre's Syndrome

Such is the case with a disease that has been called "the forgotten disease: Lemierre's Syndrome." Many of the symptoms of Lemierre's syndrome are identical to mono and unless a doctor is familiar with Lemierre's or sees the symptoms have gone beyond the norm for mono, this disease can be a killer.

While still considered relatively rare, it is showing up more and more in the lives of young people in the United States and seems to be making a comeback after a long hiatus due to the use of penicillin.

With the present curbing of the use of antibiotics, like penicillin, Lemierre's Syndrome is finding a place of entry once again.  Since mono is viral, anti-biotics do nothing for the disease.

How Do I Know It's Lemierre's?

One of the primary signs of Lemierre's is a swelling on the side of the neck. It is very easy for such a swelling to be brushed aside as an effect of mono.

However, if symptoms persist and worsen, a CT scan may be necessary to reveal what is really going on. If there is an infected thrombus or presence of a blood clot, Lemierre's could be the culprit. Fast action is critical to the life of the sufferer.

Lemierre's Syndrome first made the medical journals in 1936 when the French physician published a study about a fatal condition in which bacteria from infected tonsils invades neighboring blood vessels in the neck forming a clot there which dispenses poisons to the body's organs and joints.

Penicillin was the hero of the day and the use of the drug vanquished the killer. Caught early, and with the use of antibiotics, it is no longer a fatal disease but there can still be serious complications as a result of Lemierre's Syndrome.


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