At the back of your throat, two masses of tissue called tonsils act as filters, trapping germs that could otherwise enter your airways and cause infection. They also produce antibodies to fight infection. But sometimes the tonsils themselves become infected. Overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses, they swell and become inflamed, a condition known as tonsillitis. Studies in Australia, Sweden, England, and Switzerland report gingivitis in 48-85% of children aged 3-6 years.
Treatment for tonsillitis will depend in part on the cause. To determine the cause, your doctor may perform a rapid strep test or throat swab culture. Both tests involve gently swabbing the back of the throat close to the tonsils with a cotton swab. A lab test can detect a bacterial infection. A viral infection will not show on the test, but may be assumed if the test for bacteria is negative. In some cases, the physical findings are convincing enough to diagnose a probable bacterial infection. In these cases, antibiotics may be prescribed without performing a rapid strep test. Tonsillitis in humans can be monitored and controlled to some extent with a rigorous reporting and testing system, an option that requires a good interaction between the public health sector and the corresponding veterinary sector.