is a rare and potentially life-threatening illness. The bacterium responsible for this disease is typically Fusobacterium necrophorum
, although a wide variety of bacteria have been reported as causing the disease.
The bacterial infection begins in the oropharynx
then spreads through the lymphatic vessels
. Following this primary infection, thrombophlebitis
of the internal jugular vein
(IJV) develops. The final phase of the disease occurs when septic emboli (pus-containing tissue) migrate from their original location in the body to various organs. The lungs are most commonly involved, however other sites may include the joints, muscle, skin and soft tissue, liver, and spleen.
The symptoms of Lemierre syndrome include fever, sore throat, neck swelling, pulmonary involvement and joint pain. It is an uncommon disease that occurs in about one person per million per year. The disease primarily affects healthy young people before age 40.
Diagnosis of Lemierre syndrome rests on the presence of a blood clot (or clots) in the IJV and blood cultures that show the presence of Fusobacterium necrophorum
. Intravenous antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment.
Last updated: 2/13/2016