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J Clin Microbiol. 2008 Sep;46(9):2966-72. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00078-08. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

Comprehensive study of strains previously designated Streptococcus bovis consecutively isolated from human blood cultures and emended description of Streptococcus gallolyticus and Streptococcus infantarius subsp. coli.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Gärtner & Colleagues Laboratories, Ravensburg, Germany.


Modern taxonomy has delineated Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus, S. gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus, Streptococcus infantarius subsp. coli, and S. infantarius subsp. infantarius within the heterogenous group of previously designated clinical Streptococcus bovis bacteria. In the present study, 58 consecutive blood culture isolates initially designated S. bovis were further characterized by applying phenotypic and molecular genetic methods, and possible disease associations were investigated by studying the patients' records. Published phenotypic characteristics of S. gallolyticus and S. infantarius were not unequivocal and did not allow an unambiguous phenotypic differentiation of the 58 clinical isolates. However, full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences clearly assigned the strains to S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus (n = 29), S. gallolyticus subsp. pasteurianus (n = 12), and S. infantarius subsp. coli (n = 17). Only 28% of the patients with available records presented with endocarditis and 7% presented with colon carcinoma, whereas 37% of the patients had altered liver parenchyma and 28% had gall bladder disease as underlying diseases. Detailed antimicrobial susceptibility data on both S. gallolyticus subspecies and S. infantarius subsp. coli are given for the first time. As a result of the extensive characterization of the largest number of S. gallolyticus and S. infantarius human clinical isolates published so far, emended species descriptions are given. It is recommended that both clinical microbiologists and infectious disease specialists avoid the designation S. bovis for true S. gallolyticus and S. infantarius strains in the future in order to get a clearer picture of the possible disease associations of these species.

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