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Intern Med. 2010;49(16):1733-9. Epub 2010 Aug 13.

The nosocomial transmission of Helicobacter cinaedi infections in immunocompromised patients.

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Division of Rheumatology and Hematology, Department of Medicine, Sapporo City General Hospital, Sapporo, Japan.



We encountered 15 cases of Helicobacter cinaedi (H. cinaedi) infection between March and July 2008.


The underlying diseases were hematological malignancies in a majority of cases, many of which received chemotherapy. All patients had a fever. The fever was followed by cellulitis in three, a skin rash in six, pain in the lower limbs in three, and diarrhea in three cases. We analyzed the bacterial 23S rRNA genes. The fifteen strains were divided according to base sequence into Groups A, B, and C, respectively. All four cases in Group A were women and all ten in Group C were men, indicating that the gender of the patient corresponded precisely to the genotypes of the separated bacilli in these two groups. These findings also suggested the strong possibility of nosocomial spread.


It is highly likely that H. cinaedi infections have been overlooked due to the difficulties encountered in culturing the bacterium. The possibility of septicemia caused by H. cinaedi should be suspected especially in immunocompromised patients such as those undergoing chemotherapy, with symptoms such as fever, rash, arthritis, cellulitis, leg pain, and other systemic or local symptoms.

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