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Rare human skin infection with Corynebacterium ulcerans: transmission by a domestic cat


Corti, M A M; Bloemberg, G V; Borelli, S; Kutzner, H; Eich, G; Hoelzle, L; Lautenschlager, S (2012). Rare human skin infection with Corynebacterium ulcerans: transmission by a domestic cat. Infection, 40(5):575-578.

Abstract

Corynebacterium ulcerans is mainly known for its ability to cause animal infections. Some strains of C. ulcerans produce diphtheria toxin, which can cause life-threatening cardiopathies and neuropathies in humans. Human cutaneous C. ulcerans infection is a very rare disease that mimics classical cutaneous diphtheria. We present a very rare case of a C. ulcerans skin infection caused by a non-diphtheria toxin-producing strain of C. ulcerans that resolved after 3 weeks of therapy with amoxicillin-clavulanate. A pet cat was the probable source of infection. The presence of C. ulcerans in the mouth of the cat was confirmed by 16S rRNA gene analysis and the API Coryne system. In cases of human infection with potentially toxigenic corynebacteria, it is important to determine the species and examine the isolate for diphtheria toxin production. If toxigenicity is present, diphtheria antitoxin should be administered immediately. Carriers and potential infectious sources of C. ulcerans include not only domestic livestock but also pet animals. For the primary prevention of disease caused by diphtheria toxin-producing corynebacteria, vaccination with diphtheria toxoid is recommended.

Corynebacterium ulcerans is mainly known for its ability to cause animal infections. Some strains of C. ulcerans produce diphtheria toxin, which can cause life-threatening cardiopathies and neuropathies in humans. Human cutaneous C. ulcerans infection is a very rare disease that mimics classical cutaneous diphtheria. We present a very rare case of a C. ulcerans skin infection caused by a non-diphtheria toxin-producing strain of C. ulcerans that resolved after 3 weeks of therapy with amoxicillin-clavulanate. A pet cat was the probable source of infection. The presence of C. ulcerans in the mouth of the cat was confirmed by 16S rRNA gene analysis and the API Coryne system. In cases of human infection with potentially toxigenic corynebacteria, it is important to determine the species and examine the isolate for diphtheria toxin production. If toxigenicity is present, diphtheria antitoxin should be administered immediately. Carriers and potential infectious sources of C. ulcerans include not only domestic livestock but also pet animals. For the primary prevention of disease caused by diphtheria toxin-producing corynebacteria, vaccination with diphtheria toxoid is recommended.

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8 citations in Web of Science®
12 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Microbiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:31 Jan 2013 15:57
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:21
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0300-8126
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-012-0254-5
PubMed ID:22403045

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