Pharyngitis is an acute throat infection caused by viruses or bacteria. Other conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux, postnasal drip, or allergies, also can cause sore throat and must be distinguished from infectious causes. Acute pharyngitis is responsible for 1% to 2% of adult physician visits and 6% to 8% of pediatric visits but gen-

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erally is self-limited without serious sequelae. Antimicrobials are prescribed in 50% to 70% of cases in adults and children because of the inability to easily distinguish between viral and bacterial pathogens and fear of untreated streptococcal ill-



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