Rhodococcus equi

Rhodococcus equi is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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  • Formerly Corynebacterium equi. Ubiquitous in the environment.
    • Pleomorphic, non-motile Gram-positive coccobacillus [Fig 1].
    • Variable acid-fast staining.
    • Organism varies from coccoid to bacillary form depending on growth condition.
      • Solid media: coccoid, salmon-pink color colonies [Fig 2] may not appear until 4-7 days after incubation.
      • Liquid media: bacillary, branching [Fig 3].
  • Modes of acquisition: inhalation, local inoculation, or ingestion.
    • A common cause of bronchopneumonia in foals, also swine and cattle.
  • It can be overlooked as contaminant diphtheroids and be discarded.
    • The lab should be aware if clinically suspected.
    • Can also be confused with Micrococcus, Bacillus or Mycobacteria species.

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Last updated: November 8, 2019