Analysis of Microorganism Colonization, Biofilm Production, and Antibacterial Susceptibility in Recurrent Tonsillitis and Peritonsillar Abscess Patients

Renata Klagisa (Coresponding Author), Karlis Racenis, Renars Broks, Arta Olga Balode, Ligija Kise, Juta Kroica

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BACKGROUND: Despite the widespread use of antibiotics to treat infected tonsils, episodes of tonsillitis tend to recur and turn into recurrent tonsillitis (RT) or are complicated by peritonsillar abscesses (PTAs). The treatment of RT and PTAs remains surgical, and tonsillectomies are still relevant.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a prospective, controlled study, we analyzed the bacteria of the tonsillar crypts of 99 patients with RT and 29 patients with a PTA. We performed the biofilm formation and antibacterial susceptibility testing of strains isolated from study patients. We compared the results obtained between patient groups with the aim to identify any differences that may contribute to ongoing symptoms of RT or that may play a role in developing PTAs.

RESULTS: The greatest diversity of microorganisms was found in patients with RT. Gram-positive bacteria were predominant in both groups. Candida species were predominant in patients with a PTA (48.3% of cases). Irrespective of patient group, the most commonly isolated pathogenic bacterium was S. aureus (in 33.3% of RT cases and in 24.14% of PTA cases). The most prevalent Gram-negative bacterium was K. pneumoniae (in 10.1% of RT cases and in 13.4% of PTA cases). At least one biofilm-producing strain was found in 37.4% of RT cases and in 27.6% of PTA cases. Moderate or strong biofilm producers were detected in 16 out of 37 cases of RT and in 2 out of 8 PTA cases. There was a statistically significant association found between the presence of Gram-positive bacteria and a biofilm-formation phenotype in the RT group and PTA group (Pearson χ 2 test, p < 0.001). S. aureus and K. pneumoniae strains were sensitive to commonly used antibiotics. One S. aureus isolate was identified as MRSA.

CONCLUSIONS: S. aureus is the most common pathogen isolated from patients with RT, and Candida spp. are the most common pathogens isolated from patients with a PTA. S. aureus isolates are susceptible to most antibiotics. Patients with RT more commonly have biofilm-producing strains, but patients with a PTA more commonly have biofilm non-producer strains. K. pneumoniae does not play a major role in biofilm production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10273
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • biofilm
  • peritonsillar abscess
  • recurrent tonsillitis

Field of Science*

  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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