How does the prevalence of tonsillitis vary by age?

Updated: Apr 06, 2020
  • Author: Udayan K Shah, MD, FACS, FAAP; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Tonsillitis most often occurs in children; however, the condition rarely occurs in children younger than 2 years. Tonsillitis caused by Streptococcus species typically occurs in children aged 5-15 years, while viral tonsillitis is more common in younger children. Peritonsillar abscess (PTA) usually occurs in teens or young adults but may present earlier.

Pharyngitis accompanies many upper respiratory tract infections. Between 2.5% and 10.9% of children may be defined as carriers. In one study, the mean prevalence of carrier status of schoolchildren for group A Streptococcus, a cause of tonsillitis, was 15.9%. [7, 8]

According to Herzon et al, children account for approximately one third of peritonsillar abscess episodes in the United States. [9] Recurrent tonsillitis was reported in 11.7% of Norwegian children in one study and estimated in another study to affect 12.1% of Turkish children. [10]


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