Staphylococcus aureus and Group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GABHS) were established as the predominant pathogens in abscesses of the head and neck in most studies done until 1970 (1). However, when methodologies suitable for recovery of anaerobic bacteria were used, these organisms were found to predominate especially in infections that originated from sites where these organisms are the predominant flora (i.e., dental, sinus, and tonsillar infections) (2,3). The recovery of anaerobes from abscesses and other infections of the head and neck is not surprising because anaerobic bacteria outnumber aerobic bacteria in the oral cavity by a ratio of 10:1 (4). Furthermore, these organisms were recovered from chronic upper respiratory infections such as otitis and sinusitis, and from periodontal infections (1).
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