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APMIS. 2010 Dec;118(12):994-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0463.2010.02683.x. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Fusobacterium necrophorum- detection and identification on a selective agar.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Viborg Hospital, Denmark.


Within the last decade, Fusobacterium necrophorum subsp. funduliforme has been considered a clinically important pathogen causing pharyngitis especially in adolescents and young adults. F. necrophorum pharyngitis can progress into Lemierre's syndrome, which is a severe and life-threatening infection. However, throat swabs are not cultured anaerobically in the routine and even if cultured anaerobically, it can be difficult to identify F. necrophorum from the normal flora of the throat. F. necrophorum is therefore often overlooked as the cause of pharyngitis. In our laboratory, a F. necrophorum selective agar has been developed containing vancomycin and nalidixin, which inhibit the growth of most Gram-positive and many Gram-negative bacteria, respectively. β-haemolysis of horse blood can be detected, which further facilitates the detection and identification of F. necrophorum. The F. necrophorum selective agar was evaluated against a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay and shown to have a significantly higher sensitivity for detecting F. necrophorum than the anaerobic agar commonly used in Denmark. Furthermore, the F. necrophorum selective agar does not require experienced laboratory technicians, require fewer subcultures, is probably less expensive and is faster to perform than other culture methods.

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