A college rower at Kansas State University died of symptoms thought to be caused by tonsillitis but turned out to be Lemierre syndrome, a rare bacterial infection. Student Samantha Scott died on October 27, not long after visiting a doctor.
Two weeks ago, 23-year-old Scott had pain and swelling in his throat. reports. She wiped her symptoms off and eventually went to the hospital as they got worse.
She was diagnosed with Lemierre syndrome, a rare infection that starts with a sore throat and fever and causes swelling and infection to move through a person's body. Scott died just days after her diagnosis.
"I do not think I could say anything negative about them," Kennidi Cobbley, her lifelong friend, who founded GoFundMe to help Scott's family have funeral costs, tells SELF. "She was honestly one of the best people I know." Cobbley calls Scott's death "devastating" and added, "I just talked to her on Tuesday and it seemed she was feeling better." Cobbley hopes to help Scott's family raise enough money to cover medical bills and funeral costs. Remaining funds are used to create a scholarship in Scott's name.
Lemierre syndrome is a serious infection that is usually caused by a certain type of bacteria.
The bacterium Fusobacterium necrophorum is at the root of the majority of these cases according to US Department of Health and Human Services Information Center for Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD), as well other infections have been reported. The infection begins in the throat and spreads through the lymphatic vessels thin tubes structured like blood vessels that carry white blood cells and lymphatic fluids throughout the body.
Symptoms usually include sore throat and fever due to swelling of the internal jugular veins (which run on both sides of the neck), according to GARD. From there, someone with this infection can develop a blood clot in the jugular vein. If left untreated, pus tissue will migrate from the neck to various organs, usually the lungs.
Experts do not really know why some people develop Lemierre syndrome, especially healthy people [haben]. 19659014] Fusobacterium necrophorum without problems. Some scientists believe that Lemierre syndrome can develop when bacteria invade a person's mucosa. This is the membrane that lines different parts of the body, says GARD. Viral or bacterial pharyngitis or Epstein-Barr virus can also increase a person's risk.
The symptoms of Lemierre syndrome usually feel pretty much like "normal" sore throat.
Although your sore throat feels relatively mild, it quickly progresses to something more severe. "They just start to feel bad," says William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical School, to SELF. "They just feel sick and suddenly realize that this is not just a simple sore throat."
For example, if your tonsils swell, you may have difficulty swallowing the infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, SELF says. Schaffner adds that breathing might be difficult, adds dr. Schaffner, which is definitely worrying.
When the infection enters your bloodstream, it is possible to develop sepsis a severe reaction to infection. Dr. Schaffner says. This comes with symptoms such as fever, high heart rate and shortness of breath in addition to the initial infection. From there, sepsis can lead to organ failure and septic shock. "This does not happen immediately, but can continue to worsen within a few days," he explains.
Since Lemierre syndrome is so rare, a correct diagnosis requires physicians who know the syndrome and have a healthy dose of suspicion. Conductor. Diagnosis usually involves blood and neck imaging (such as CT or ultrasound) to monitor swelling or blood clots in the jugular vein often associated with Lemierre syndrome, says GARD.
Lemierre syndrome is often treatable if caught in time.
Patients usually receive IV antibiotics to help clear the infection, says GARD. "Most people do not die from it, at least in the US, but they can get pretty sick," says Dr. Adalia. However, the longer someone waits to seek medical help, the greater the risk of serious complications.
Again, this is rare and it is unlikely that your next sore throat will be due to Lemierre syndrome. "Even doctors who suffer from infectious diseases may only see one or two in professional life," says Dr. Conductor. "Very few people who have a sore throat develop such complications."
However, if you have a sore throat that gets worse, or if you have difficulty swallowing or breathing, these may be signs that you are dealing with something worse than a cold or flu, so it is important to seek medical help to take.