Tonsillitis itself is not contagious, but the viruses, such as those that cause the common cold, and bacteria such as streptococcous, that cause it are. When the tonsils become infected by either of these, this leads to tonsillitis.
These types of infections spread easily through direct contact. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, expelling tiny droplets and these are breathed in by others, the infection-causing agents spread. This is why children in close quarter environments such as schools and sports clubs are often more prone to tonsillitis.
How long is tonsillitis contagious for?
The length of time tonsillitis is contagious for depends on its cause. Tonsillitis caused by a viral infection is generally contagious for between 7 to 10 days, whereas bacterial tonsillitis may be contagious for up to two weeks.
In some cases infected individuals are chronic carriers and can be mildly contagious for extended periods of time.
Those suffering from bacterial infections that cause tonsillitis are regarded as being non-contagious 1 to 2 days after commencing prescribed antibiotic treatment.