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Pharyngitis refers to inflammation of the mucous membranes of the pharynx that manifests as a sore throat. Inflammation of the adjoining tonsils (tonsillopharyngitis) and isolated tonsillar infection (tonsillitis) are commonly included in this diagnostic category. Stomatitis refers to inflammation of the mucous membranes of the oral cavity, including the buccal mucosa, palate, gingiva, tongue, and lips. This chapter covers the major aspects (i.e., epidemiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, diagnosis, treatment) of pharyngitis and stomatitis in separate subsections.


Pharyngitis may be part of a broader respiratory tract infection or one manifestation of a systemic illness. Pharyngitis is one of the most common reasons that patients seek care. An estimated 12 million ambulatory-care visits are made annually for evaluation of pharyngitis among children 3–17 years of age.1 Most episodes of pharyngitis are caused by viruses that typically target upper and lower respiratory tract loci (Table 27-1). Viral pharyngitis is common in children of all age groups, although Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is more common in older children and adolescents.2 In the United States and other countries with temperate climates, the incidence of viral pharyngitis peaks in the winter. Certain viruses (e.g., adenovirus, enterovirus) are common causes of pharyngitis in the summer and fall.3 This seasonality is not maintained in tropical climates.

TABLE 27-1Pharyngitis Causative Organisms3,64

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