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Anaerobe. 2006 Feb;12(1):17-22. Epub 2005 Aug 15.

Characterization of the Bacteroides fragilis pathogenicity island in human blood culture isolates.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Epidemiology, University of Leipzig, Germany.


Bacteroides fragilis is an important anaerobic pathogen accounting for up to 10% of bacteremias in adult patients. Enterotoxin producing B. fragilis (ETBF) strains have been identified as enteric pathogens of children and adults. In order to further characterize the B. fragilis pathogenicity island (BfPAI) and using PCR assays for bft- and mpII-metalloprotease genes, we determined the frequency of B. fragilis strains with pattern I (containing the BfPAI and its flanking region), pattern II (lacking both the BfPAI and the flanking region), and pattern III (lacking the BfPAI but containing the flanking region) in 63 blood culture isolates. The results were compared to 197 B. fragilis isolates from different clinical sources. We found 19% of blood culture isolates were pattern I (ETBF), 43% were pattern II (NTBF) and 38% were pattern III (NTBF). Comparatively, B. fragilis isolates from other clinical sources were 10% pattern I, 47% pattern II and 43% pattern III. This suggests that the pathogenicity island and the flanking elements may be general virulence factors of B. fragilis.

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