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Ann Emerg Med. 1989 Apr;18(4):410-3.

Staphylococcus intermedius: clinical presentation of a new human dog bite pathogen.

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UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sylmar, California 91342.


Staphylococcus intermedius is a Gram-positive, coagulase-positive coccus that can be distinguished from Staphylococcus aureus by routine microbiological testing. Whereas S intermedius is recognized as flora and pathogen of dogs, it has never been isolated from human infections. We hypothesized that S intermedius may cause human dog bite wound infections and that it has been previously misidentified as S aureus. Fourteen isolates from clinically infected dog bite wounds that were originally identified as S aureus were subjected to further testing; three (22%) were found to be S intermedius. The clinical and microbiological characteristics of these three S intermedius cases are described. All three patients were nonimmunocompromised persons seen within 24 hours for bites on the upper extremity. All patients developed cellulitis within one to three days. All S intermedius isolates were distinguished from S aureus by the lack of acetoin production and by the presence of beta-galactosidase activity. S intermedius was susceptible to a wide range of antibiotics; one isolate was resistant to penicillin. Two patients were treated with penicillin, one with amoxicillin-clavulanate, and all were clinically cured. These are the first three reported human infections involving S intermedius. Further study is necessary to define its clinical importance as a potential human pathogen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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