Fusobacterium species


  • Anaerobic, Gram-negative bacteria
    • Slender rods with pointed ends [Fig] sometimes appear pleomorphic (coccoid, spheroid).
      • It may grow under anaerobic conditions on a number of media, such as CVE (crystal-violet erythromycin) agar, modified chopped meat medium added with 2% agar or Brucella blood agar.
    • Multiple species, but usually two, account for most human disease:
      • Fusobacterium nucleatum is part of dental plaque flora and is also a cause of invasive infection of the head/neck and elsewhere.
      • F. necrophorum: cause of pharyngotonsillitis, Lemierre syndrome (septic jugular vein thrombophlebitis) and peritonsillar abscess, especially in children and young adults
      • Other: F. mortiferum (occasional cause of bacteremia)
    • Fusobacterium spp. are sensitive to colistin and kanamycin, distinguishing them from Bacteroides and Porphyromonas.
  • Produces significant LPS, which may account for virulence.
  • Historically thought to be part of normal human flora; some, especially for F. nucleatum, believe it is more likely a pathogen if recovered.

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Last updated: June 10, 2024