Actinomyces

Valeria Fabre, M.D., John G. Bartlett, M.D.
Actinomyces is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Thin, branching (filamentous or beaded) Gram-positive bacillus [Fig 1].
    • Microaerophilic, grow best anaerobically.
    • VERY fastidious, often does not grow in culture.
  • Agents: A. israelii, A. naeslundii, A. odontolyticus, A. viscosus, A. meyer and Propionibacterium propionicum and A. gereneseriae.
    • Virtually all cases are mixed infections with other bacteria including Eikenella corrodens, Bacteroides spp, S. aureus, Streptococcus spp., Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, and/or Fusobacterium sp.
    • Normal flora of mouth, gut, genital tract.
  • Diagnosis is often made by histopathology -- not by culture, even when suspected.

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Last updated: December 6, 2018