• Definition

    Pharyngitis, or sore throat, is discomfort, pain, or scratchiness in the throat. It often makes it painful to swallow.

    See also:

    • Infectious mononucleosis
    • Strep throat

    Alternative Names

    Pharyngitis - bacterial; Sore throat

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Pharyngitis is caused by swelling (inflammation) of the pharynx, which is in the back of the throat, between the tonsils and the voicebox (larynx).

    Most sore throats are cauesd by a viral infection, such as the cold or flu. Some viruses can cause specific types of sore throat, such as coxsackie infection or mononucleosis.

    Bacteria that can cause pharyngitis include Group A streptococcus, which leads to strep throat in some cases.

    Other, less-common bacteria that cause sore throats include corynebacterium, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

    Most cases of pharyngitis occur during the colder months. The illness often spreads among family members.