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J Clin Microbiol. 2010 Nov;48(11):3829-35. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01563-10. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

It's not easy being green: the viridans group streptococci, with a focus on pediatric clinical manifestations.

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Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, Texas 75235, USA.


The viridans group streptococci (VGS) are a heterogeneous group of organisms that can be human commensals, colonizing the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts in addition to the oral mucosa. VGS are generally considered to be of low pathogenic potential in immunocompetent individuals. However, in certain patient populations, VGS can cause invasive disease, such as endocarditis, intra-abdominal infection, and shock. Within the VGS, the rates and patterns of antimicrobial resistance vary greatly depending upon the species identification and the patient population. In general, Streptococcus mitis group organisms are resistant to more antimicrobial agents than the other VGS species. This review addresses current VGS taxonomy, in addition to the current methodologies being used in clinical microbiology laboratories for identification of VGS. Automated systems struggle overall with species level identification and susceptibility testing for VGS. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) identification is emerging as a potential alternative for organism identification. A review of recent pediatric-specific data regarding the clinical manifestations of VGS revealed that the Streptococcus anginosus group (SAG) organisms may be important pathogens in pediatric patients and that the VGS may contribute to disease in patients with cystic fibrosis. It also appears that rates of antimicrobial resistance in VGS in pediatric patients are surpassing those of the adult population.

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