Publication Date



Clinical Practice Cases Emergency Medicine


INTRODUCTION: Lemierre syndrome (LS) is a rare condition with a high mortality risk. It is well described in older children and young adults involving bacteremia, thrombophlebitis, and metastatic abscess commonly due to Fusobacterium infections. Young, pre-verbal children are also susceptible to LS; thus, careful attention must be given to their pattern of symptoms and history to identify this condition in the emergency department (ED).

CASE REPORT: A 12-month-old previously healthy boy with a recent diagnosis of acute otitis media and viral illness presented to the ED with a complaint of fever. Additional symptoms developed at the head and neck and were noted on subsequent ED visits. Advanced imaging revealed significant lymphadenopathy and deep space inflammation extending to the mediastinum. Subsequent imaging confirmed extensive sinus and deep vein thromboses, consistent with LS. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was the only organism identified. After surgical debridement, appropriate intravenous antibiotics, and heparin anticoagulation therapy, the patient experienced full recovery after prolonged hospitalization.

CONCLUSION: A febrile infant with multiple acute care visits and development of lymphadenopathy, decreased oral intake, decreased cervical range of motion, and sepsis should raise suspicion for Lemierre syndrome. The medical evaluation of deep neck spaces and deep veins should be similar to that of older children and adults with LS, including advanced imaging of the head and neck. However, medical management should particularly target MRSA due to its emerging prevalence among infantile LS cases. Further research is necessary to determine the optimal management strategies of LS for this age group.


infant, pediatric, Lemierre, thrombus, thrombophlebitis, MRSA, mediastinitis, case report



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