Epiglottitis is an inflammation of the epiglottis (flap of tissue that sits at the base of the tongue that keeps food from going into the trachea during swallowing). When it becomes infected and inflamed, it can swell and obstruct or close off the windpipe which may be fatal unless promptly treated.
Conditions that cause epiglottitis include infectious, chemical and traumatic agents :
- Infectious causes are the most common, classically with Haemophilus influenzae, but also from other potential pathogens.
- Other types of epiglottitis that are environmental and not caused by infection include heat damage that may injure the epiglottis, called thermal epiglottitis and in rare instance, epiglottitis may be causes by allergic reactions to food.
|Main pathogens involved in Epiglottitis|
|Bacteria||Haemophilus influenzae (25%), Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus|
|Viruses||Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 and Parainfluenza virus|
|Fungi||Candida and Aspergillus|
The most common pathogens responsible for Epiglottitis