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J Clin Microbiol. 1989 Feb;27(2):231-5.

Capnocytophaga canimorsus sp. nov. (formerly CDC group DF-2), a cause of septicemia following dog bite, and C. cynodegmi sp. nov., a cause of localized wound infection following dog bite.

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Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


CDC group DF-2 is the vernacular name given to a slow-growing gram-negative bacterium that causes septicemia and meningitis in humans. Infections frequently (one-third of cases) occur following dog bites or close contact with dogs or occasionally with cats. Splenectomy and alcoholism appear to be strong predisposing factors for DF-2 infection. In addition to 150 DF-2 strains received for identification, we received 9 DF-2-like strains; 6 were isolated from wound or eye infections, 3 of which were associated with dog bites and 1 of which was associated with a cat scratch, and 3 were isolated from dog mouths. The major characteristics of DF-2 include production of acid but no gas from lactose and maltose and usually D-glucose; positive reactions for oxidase, catalase, arginine dihydrolase, gliding motility, and o-nitrophenyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside; growth enhanced by serum and by incubation in a candle jar atmosphere; and negative reactions for sucrose, raffinose, inulin, melibiose, nitrate reduction, indole, and growth on MacConkey agar. DF-2-like strains had the same characteristics, except that acid was formed from sucrose, raffinose, inulin, and melibiose. By the hydroxyapatite method, DNAs from 12 DF-2 strains were 88% related in 60 degrees C reactions and 84% related in 75 degrees C reactions. Related sequences contained 0.5 to 1.5% unpaired bases (divergence). Three DF-2-like strains were 73 to 80% related at 60 degrees C (with 2.0 to 2.5% divergence) and 68 to 75% related at 75 degrees C. The relatedness of DF-2 and DF-2-like strains was 19 to 31% at 60 degrees Celsius and 13 to 19% at 75 degrees Celsius. The relatedness of DF-2 and DF-2-like strains to Capnocytophaga species was 4 to 7%. The DNA relatedness date indicate that eh DF-2 and the DF-2-like strains are separate, previously undescribed species. Both groups are phenotypically and genetically distinct from Capnocytophaga species, although they do share several characteristics with Capnocytophaga species, including cellular morphology, gliding motility, cellular fatty acid composition, enhancement of growth in a candle jar atmosphere, and G+C content. The new species differ from Capnocytophaga species by their positive oxidase and catalase reactions. We chose to avoid creating a new genus and proposed the names Capnocytophaga canimorsus sp. nov. for group DF-2 and C. cynodegmi sp. nov. for the DF-2-like strains.

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