Saturday, December 29, 2012


Non-diphtheriae Corynebacterium species: an emerging respiratory pathogen.

Non-diphtheriae Corynebacterium species: an emerging respiratory pathogen.

Dec 2012


Department of Clinical Microbiology, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, Madrid, Spain,


The purpose of the study was to describe the microbiological and clinical features of ten cases of lower respiratory tract infection due to Corynebacterium striatum, Corynebacterium propinquum and Corynebacterium pseudodiphtheriticum. Respiratory samples were recovered from hospitalised patients who were diagnosed of pneumonia and exacerbations of chronic respiratory infections. The samples were Gram-stained and seeded on conventional bacterial growing media. Bacteria were identified by matrix-assisted linear desorption/ionisation-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). Antibiotic susceptibility was tested by the disk diffusion method. All patients presented an acute respiratory onset, most of them in the context of an underlying disease and/or immunosuppression. In all patients, the microscopical examination of Gram-stained respiratory samples showed numerous polymorphonuclear cells and Gram-positive bacilli, suggestive of the Corynebacterium morphotype. A pure culture growth of Corynebacterium was obtained in the majority (72 %) of samples. The conclusions are that non-diphtheriae Corynebacterium species are an emerging cause of respiratory infection among patients with chronic respiratory disease and/or immunosuppression, and cannot always be considered as mere colonisers. The microorganism's predominance in Gram-stained purulent respiratory samples together with abundant growth in the culture is the key for the microbiological diagnosis.


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