Streptobacillus moniliformis

Trevor A. Crowell, M.D.
Streptobacillus moniliformis is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Pleomorphic, nonencapsulated, branching Gram-negative bacillus [Fig 1].
    • Stains irregularly and may be mistaken for Gram-positive pleomorphic rods.
    • Grows slowly, so the lab should be notified to hold cultures if clinical suspicion for this pathogen.
  • Normal commensal of rodent oropharynx, even healthy pets and laboratory rats.
    • Risk of infection after a rat bite may be as high as 10%.
    • May also be transmitted to humans by bite/scratch from mice, squirrels, cats, dogs, or pigs.
  • A major cause of rat bite fever (RBF; most common cause in the U.S.)
    • Spirillum minus also a cause, primarily in Asia; cannot be cultured on synthetic media.
    • Spirillum notomytis also a cause, rarely reported.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Pleomorphic, nonencapsulated, branching Gram-negative bacillus [Fig 1].
    • Stains irregularly and may be mistaken for Gram-positive pleomorphic rods.
    • Grows slowly, so the lab should be notified to hold cultures if clinical suspicion for this pathogen.
  • Normal commensal of rodent oropharynx, even healthy pets and laboratory rats.
    • Risk of infection after a rat bite may be as high as 10%.
    • May also be transmitted to humans by bite/scratch from mice, squirrels, cats, dogs, or pigs.
  • A major cause of rat bite fever (RBF; most common cause in the U.S.)
    • Spirillum minus also a cause, primarily in Asia; cannot be cultured on synthetic media.
    • Spirillum notomytis also a cause, rarely reported.

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Last updated: December 8, 2019