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Medicine (Baltimore). 1985 Mar;64(2):75-88.

Infections due to Lancefield group G streptococci.


The group G streptococcus has surfaced in the past 10 to 15 years as an important opportunistic and nosocomial pathogen. Although more precise organism recognition accounts for a portion of these cases, there can be little doubt that the group G streptococcus has become a more prevalent pathogen. Commercial kits, utilizing staphylococcal coagglutination or latex agglutination, are now available, affording all clinical laboratories the opportunity to identify this organism easily. Published reviews encompassing the experiences of a single institution or even several institutions affiliated with a single medical center, particularly as they were influenced by referral patterns, did not reflect the broad scope of infections that we discovered by extending our survey into the community, beyond the medical center complex and its immediate affiliated hospitals. Although malignancy is the single most obvious background factor, alcoholism and diabetes are also important host determinants of infection. Skin and soft-tissue infections (and surface sources of infection) are equally important among patients with or without the element of malignancy. Polymicrobial infection, including polymicrobial bacteremia, is an important feature, with S. aureus infections accounting for most of these cases, relating to the skin and soft tissue sources of infections so commonly seen. We saw a panorama of problems including endocarditis, septic arthritis, pleuropulmonary infections, bone and joint infections, puerperal sepsis and neonatal infection, peritonitis and ophthalmitis; we also saw a significant number of patients with bacteremia and no apparent primary source of infection. Response to antibiotic therapy was dictated by the nature of the underlying diseases, and individuals without a background of malignant disease did well, particularly those with skin and soft-tissue infections. While the literature suggests that patients with endocarditis and septic arthritis due to this organism respond poorly to antibiotic therapy, implying that such failures relate to in vitro antibiotic phenomena, we preferred to examine the problem from the viewpoint of the host(s) involved. Subacute endocarditis and acute endocarditis due to the group G streptococcus may be clinically separable, and thus require separate therapeutic approaches. In patients with septic arthritis, prosthetic devices, prior joint disease and immunosuppressive diseases and therapy often adversely influence the response to antibiotic therapy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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