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Diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma of cervical adenitis in an adult


Citrobacter freundii infections have not been previously described as an aetiology for lymphadenitis in healthy adults. Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections typically occur in young children or immunocompromised individuals, with few cases seen in adults. A woman in her 20s presented with lymphadenitis that was subsequently positive for C. freundii and NTM on needle biopsy and was treated with antibiotics. The patient was followed up for 3 months with regular ultrasound scans and is currently asymptomatic. The excisional biopsy was cancelled as a result. This case highlights the complexity of making a diagnosis in some patients with cervical adenopathy, and as such, it is crucial to use the patient’s clinical course to guide treatment modalities. Contamination was a possibility in this case given the number of organisms shown on biopsy and the lack of response to treatment, and we provide an approach to management in this case of uncertainty.

  • ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • infectious diseases
  • ultrasonography

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