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Streptococcus milleri head and neck abscesses: A case series

| Reprints
June 4, 2012
by Christopher Robert Foxton, MA(Oxon); Smariti Kapila, MBBS; Justin Kong, MBBS; Neil John Thomson, FRACS


Streptococcus milleri infections and abscesses in the head and neck region have been previously reported, but there is still a dearth of clinical literature on this topic. To add to the available reports and to promote a better understanding and awareness of this clinically important entity, we present this retrospective review of 7 cases of head and neck abscess caused by S milleri infection. We have placed particular emphasis on antibiotic sensitivity patterns. These patients—6 men and 1 woman, aged 28 to 73 years (mean: 42.7)—had been seen at a district general hospital in Gosford, Australia, over a 6-month period. All patients had undergone surgical intervention and had been treated with intravenous antibiotics. All the S millericultures were sensitive to penicillin G, cephalexin, and erythromycin. Six of these patients experienced a resolution of their abscess, while 1 patient died from overwhelming sepsis. We believe that the initiation of penicillin G, cephalexin, or erythromycin is a good starting point for empiric therapy. S milleri should be considered as a causative organism in a patient who presents with a head and neck abscess, especially in the presence of a dental infection. Such a patient should be monitored closely for airway obstruction and distal infective sequelae. Also in this article, we compare our findings with those reported in two other published series.

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