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J Lab Physicians. 2010 Jul;2(2):61-5. doi: 10.4103/0974-2727.72150.

Emerging infections: shewanella - a series of five cases.

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Department of Microbiology, Sri. Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India.



Shewanella spp. are unusual cause of disease in humans; however, reports of Shewanella infections have been increasing. Shewanella is a ubiquitous organism that has been isolated from many foods, sewage, and both from fresh and salt water. Earlier it was named as Pseudomonas putrefaciens or Shewanella putrefaciens. There are several reports describing this organism causing human infections such as cellulitis, abscesses, bacteremia, wound infection, etc. It is oxidase and catalase-positive non-fermenter gram-negative rod that produces hydrogen sulfide.


The study was conducted to identify Shewanella spp., which was wrongly reported as Pseudomonas spp.


Clinical samples were cultured as per standard clinical laboratory procedure. We tested the non-lactose-fermenting colonies for oxidase positivity. Oxidase-positive colony was inoculated in triple sugar iron slant (TSI) to know the hydrogen sulfide production. Hydrogen sulfide positive colonies were further tested for citrate, urease, indole, and amino acid decarboxylation and acid and gas production from sugars.


Five isolates identified as Pseudomonas spp. during preliminary testing were proved to be Shewanella spp. on further testing.


It will help in better understanding the epidemiology, pathogenesis and risk factors associated with these and prevention of the rare pathogenic organisms.


Rare pathogens; Shewanella algae infection; Shewanella putrefaciens; chronic ulcer; emerging pathogens; non-healing ulcer

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