Life-threatening Pharyngitis Caused by Herpes Simplex Virus, Type 2

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A 21-year-old man who had pharyngitis needed hospitalization for observation of airway patency and for parenteral fluid therapy. Infection with herpes simplex virus, type 2 (HSV-2), was diagnosed on the basis of the finding of significantly increased IgM indirect hemagglutination antibody titers. The pharyngitis appeared to have been contracted by heterosexual orogenital contact (cunnilingus). The results of this case study indicate that HSV-2 infection should be considered in the differential diagnosis in cases of severe pharyngitis in sexually active patients.

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