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Rev Infect Dis. 1990 May-Jun;12(3):423-31.

Infections caused by Moraxella, Moraxella urethralis, Moraxella-like groups M-5 and M-6, and Kingella kingae in the United States, 1953-1980.

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Hospital Infections Program, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia.


From 1953 to 1980 the Centers for Disease Control received 933 isolates of bacteria belonging to species of the genus Moraxella, Moraxella-like Moraxella urethralis, now renamed Oligella urethralis, unnamed groups M-5 and M-6, and Kingella kingae. Ordinarily sterile sites were the source of 233 isolates. Moraxella nonliquefaciens, the most common isolate (356 strains), was recovered from upper respiratory or ocular sites in 208 (58%) of the cases. Moraxella osloensis was next most common (199 strains) but was the most frequent blood isolate (44 cases). K. kingae appeared especially invasive, with 58 of 78 isolates from blood, bone, or joint. Of the K. kingae strains, 75% were recovered from children under 6 years, compared with 23% of the other strains from that age group (P less than .01). Of the 74 isolates of group M-5, 53 were from wounds caused by dog bites; no other organism in this series was recovered from such wounds. Sixteen of the 28 M. urethralis isolates were from urine. Cases occurred as single infections, with no evidence of clusters. Of patients with infection of ordinarily sterile sites, 9.3% died; only bacteremia, meningitis, and empyema caused fatalities. Most referring laboratories (98%) had not identified the organisms to species, and only 30% had identified them to correct genus. Susceptibility testing by broth dilution revealed low MICs of penicillin (mean, 0.3; 64% less than 1 micrograms/mL). Moraxella, M. urethralis, M-5, M-6, and Kingella are important but frequently misidentified pathogens for humans; penicillin appears to be the treatment of choice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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