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Antibiotics Affect the Tonsillar Microbiome in Children with Recurrent Tonsillitis


Tonsillitis is a common condition in children that involves inflammation of the tonsils, which are two small glands located in the back of the throat. Tonsillitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria and is often characterized by symptoms such as sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing, and swollen glands in the neck.

Recurrent tonsillitis, defined as multiple episodes of tonsillitis within a year, can be particularly problematic for children, as it can lead to missed school days and a decreased quality of life. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat tonsillitis, but their impact on the tonsillar microbiome, or the bacterial communities that inhabit the tonsils, is not well understood. A clinical trial was conducted to determine how antibiotics affect the tonsillar microbiome.


Clinical Trial

The trial was conducted in Auckland, New Zealand, and involved 60 children who were scheduled to have their tonsils removed due to recurrent tonsillitis. Half of the participants were given amoxicillin with clavulanate, a type of antibiotic, for one week before the surgery, while the other half did not receive any antibiotics.

After the surgery, the researchers swabbed the tonsils and analyzed the bacterial composition using a technique called 16S rRNA gene-targeted amplicon sequencing. They found that the bacterial composition was different between the two groups. The children who had received antibiotics had a higher abundance of certain bacteria, such as Fusobacterium and Treponema, while those who did not receive antibiotics had a higher abundance of other bacteria, such as Haemophilus, Streptococcus, Neisseria, and Porphyromonas.

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In addition to the changes in bacterial composition, the researchers also observed a difference in the number of bacterial microcolonies present in the tonsils. The children who had received antibiotics had fewer microcolonies, and these microcolonies did not contain Streptococcus pyogenes, a bacteria commonly associated with tonsillitis.

This study is important because it is the first to investigate how antibiotics affect the tonsillar microbiome in children with recurrent tonsillitis using molecular techniques. It suggests that a single course of antibiotics can have a significant impact on the bacterial composition of the tonsils. However, it is not clear how long this effect lasts or whether antibiotics are an effective treatment for recurrent tonsillitis.

It is worth noting that this study was conducted on a small group of children and more research is needed to confirm these findings. In addition, antibiotics should only be used when they are necessary and prescribed by a doctor. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance, which means that antibiotics become less effective in treating infections.


This clinical trial shows that antibiotics can change the bacterial composition of our tonsils, and more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of these changes. If you have recurrent tonsillitis, it is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Remember to only take antibiotics when they are necessary and prescribed by a doctor.



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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.