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- Aerobic, Gram negative, urease-splitting rod.
- "Swarms" on moist agar (many flagella per organism).
- Second most commonly isolated Enterobacteriaceae after E. coli in many series.
- Most common species: P. mirabilis (indole negative) causes 90% of infections. Other Proteus spp. are indole positive, e.g., P. vulgaris and P. penneri.
- Can raise urine pH due to urea splitting activity.
- P. mirabilis is usually resistant to tetracycline and nitrofurantoin, while 10-20% are resistant to ampicillin or cephalexin. P. vulgaris usually resistant to ampicillin or cephalexin/cefazolin.