Anaerobic bacteria were isolated from all tonsils removed from children at routine tonsillectomy; 75.6% of specimens yielded moderate to heavy growth and 80% of tonsils contained more than one anaerobic species. This recovery rate fell to 56% after a 10-day course of metronidazole before tonsillectomy--in only 14.6% of cases were anaerobes isolated in significant numbers. Surface swabbing of the tonsils permitted recovery of a similar spectrum of anaerobic bacteria but resulted in an overall loss of both aerobic and anaerobic pathogens. A comparison was made between the flora of acutely inflamed tonsils and "healthy' tonsils: over 90% of both groups yielded anaerobic bacteria, but they were present in significant numbers in 56.2% of swabs taken from acutely inflamed tonsils compared with 24% of swabs from "healthy' children. The isolation rate for anerobic pathogens was 37.5% and 16% respectively.
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