Background: 65-year-old woman with wheezing, cough, fever and neck swelling was admitted to a local hospital and given antibiotic treatment for suspected pneumonia. A few hours later, she suffered cardiac arrest, probably due to airway obstruction.
Findings: The autopsy revealed widespread infection in the cervical soft tissues with myonecrosis and abscess formation. A bacterium known to form abscesses, Streptococcus anginosus, was detected in the throat, cervical sceletal muscle and blood cultures.
Significance: The case illustrates how necrotizing soft tissue infections in the head/neck region can be easily overlooked and rapidly become fatal.