What is the clinical history of epiglottitis?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Answer

The onset and progression of symptoms of epiglottitis is rapid (George Washington woke up with a sore throat and died the same night), although a less fulminant presentation is frequently demonstrated in adolescents and adults.

Historically, acute epiglottitis was most common in children aged 2-4 years. Since the introduction of the Hib vaccine and the accompanying dramatic reduction in H influenzae type b invasive disease incidence, epiglottitis has become rare in children. A comparison made between a large US children's hospital's chart review from 1995 to 2003 and a previous report from the same hospital completed 27 years earlier, showed a 10-fold decline in acute epiglottitis admissions, with streptococci becoming the major pathogens. [17] Epiglottitis incidence in adults has remained constant.


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