What is PFAPA Syndrome in Children?


I. Introduction A. Definition of PFAPA syndrome B. Historical background C. Prevalence of PFAPA

II. Symptoms of PFAPA syndrome A. Periodic fevers B. Aphthous stomatitis C. Pharyngitis D. Adenitis

III. Diagnosis of PFAPA syndrome A. Differential diagnosis B. Diagnostic criteria

IV. Treatment of PFAPA syndrome A. Management of acute episodes B. Prevention of fever episodes C. Tonsillectomy as a treatment option

V. Prognosis and complications of PFAPA syndrome A. Long-term outcomes B. Complications

VI. PFAPA syndrome and its association with other diseases A. Autoinflammatory diseases B. Immune deficiencies C. Recurrent infections

VII. Conclusion


What is PFAPA Syndrome in Children? Understanding the Rare Illness

PFAPA syndrome is a rare disorder that affects children. The illness is characterized by recurrent episodes of fever, pharyngitis, and cervical adenitis, accompanied by other symptoms. In this article, we will provide an in-depth understanding of PFAPA syndrome, including its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and possible association with other diseases.

Symptoms of PFAPA Syndrome

PFAPA syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms:

Periodic Fevers

One of the most notable symptoms of PFAPA syndrome is periodic fever. The fever episodes typically last for 3-6 days and recur every 3-8 weeks. The fever is usually high-grade, reaching 104°F or higher, and is often accompanied by chills, fatigue, and headache.

Aphthous Stomatitis

Aphthous stomatitis, which is also known as canker sores, is a common symptom of PFAPA syndrome. The sores are painful, round or oval ulcers that develop on the inside of the mouth, lips, or throat. They can last for several days and recur with fever episodes.


Pharyngitis, which is inflammation of the throat, is another common symptom of PFAPA syndrome. The throat is usually red and sore, and swallowing may be painful. The symptoms usually resolve spontaneously within a few days, only to recur with the next fever episode.


PFAPA syndrome is also characterized by cervical adenitis, which is inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck. The lymph nodes are usually tender and enlarged during fever episodes. The inflammation resolves spontaneously with fever resolution.

Diagnosis of PFAPA Syndrome

The diagnosis of PFAPA syndrome is based on a combination of clinical symptoms and exclusion of other diseases. The following diagnostic criteria are commonly used:

  • Recurrent fever episodes lasting 3-6 days
  • The absence of any infection or other obvious cause of fever
  • Aphthous stomatitis
  • Pharyngitis
  • Cervical adenitis
  • Onset before the age of 5 years
  • Regularity of fever episodes

Treatment of PFAPA Syndrome

The treatment of PFAPA syndrome focuses on management of acute episodes, prevention of fever episodes, and tonsillectomy as a treatment option.

Management of Acute Episodes

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the first-line treatment for acute fever episodes in PFAPA syndrome. These drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can reduce fever, relieve pain, and decrease inflammation.

Prevention of Fever Episodes

Some children with PFAPA syndrome have been treated with prophylactic antibiotics, such as azithromycin or clarithromycin, with varying degrees of success. However, the use of prophylactic antibiotics is controversial and should be discussed with a physician.

Tonsillectomy as a Treatment Option

Tonsillectomy, which is the surgical removal of the tonsils, has been shown to be effective in treating PFAPA syndrome. The procedure is usually recommended for children who have frequent and severe fever episodes, despite treatment with NSAIDs or other medications. Tonsillectomy has been reported to result in complete resolution of symptoms in up to 85% of children with PFAPA syndrome.

Prognosis and Complications of PFAPA Syndrome

The prognosis of PFAPA syndrome is generally good, as the fever episodes usually decrease in frequency and severity as the child grows older. Most children with PFAPA syndrome outgrow the illness by adolescence. However, some children may experience recurrent fever episodes into adulthood.

Complications of PFAPA syndrome are rare, but can include dehydration, weight loss, and failure to thrive during fever episodes.

PFAPA Syndrome and its Association with Other Diseases

PFAPA syndrome has been associated with other diseases, such as autoinflammatory diseases, immune deficiencies, and recurrent infections. Some studies have suggested that PFAPA syndrome may represent a spectrum of autoinflammatory diseases that share similar clinical features. However, the exact relationship between PFAPA syndrome and other diseases is not yet fully understood and requires further investigation.

7 SEO-Compatible Titles for PFAPA Syndrome

  1. What is PFAPA Syndrome in Children? A Comprehensive Guide to the Rare Illness
  2. Understanding PFAPA Syndrome: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
  3. Recurrent Fevers in Children: Could it be PFAPA Syndrome?
  4. The Link Between PFAPA Syndrome and Autoinflammatory Diseases
  5. Treatment Options for PFAPA Syndrome: From NSAIDs to Tonsillectomy
  6. PFAPA Syndrome in Children: Prognosis and Complications
  7. PFAPA Syndrome and Recurrent Infections: What’s the Connection?


PFAPA syndrome is a rare disorder that can be challenging to diagnose, but early recognition is essential for effective treatment. Although the exact cause of PFAPA syndrome is not yet fully understood, recent research has shed light on the potential role of autoinflammatory pathways in the development of the illness. Fortunately, most children with PFAPA syndrome have a good prognosis, and the illness typically resolves spontaneously by adolescence. If you suspect that your child may have PFAPA syndrome, it is essential to discuss your concerns with a healthcare professional.


  1. Is PFAPA syndrome contagious?
  2. Can adults develop PFAPA syndrome?
  3. What is the best treatment for PFAPA syndrome?
  4. Are there any long-term complications of PFAPA syndrome?
  5. How common is PFAPA syndrome?
Leave A Reply