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Cervicofacial Actinomycosis

Harry J. Tamoney Jr., MD; Clark A. Sammartino, DMD
JAMA. 1967;199(13):1002-1004. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120130088022.
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A THREEFOLD purpose is intended in the presentation of this report. The first is to once again dispel and discredit the age old view that cervicofacial actinomycosis results from the chewing of grain and straw or from contamination by the soil. The second is to disregard contagion as a causative agent and to identify the etiology as trauma in the oral cavity. The third is to reveal how relapse of actinomycosis can be expected if long-term antibiotic therapy is not employed.

In 1938, Cope1 in a classic monogram arbitrarily divided this chronic, granulomatous, pyogenic disease into three varieties. (1) cervicofacial, (2) thoracic, and (3) abdominal.

The cervicofacial, which is the most common form, is reported in this article. One must be very explicit in distinguishing actinomycosis from nocardiosis, as these although related and often clinically indistinguishable conditions are definitely two separate diseases. The normal abode of Actinomycoes bouis or


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