Arcanobacterium haemolyticum, formerly known as Corynebacterium
hæmolyticum, is a species of bacteria classified as a gram-positive
bacillus. It is catalase-negative, aerobic, beta-hemolytic, and not
motile. It is part of the normal flora of the pharynx, but it may
sometimes cause head and neck infections, pharyngitis, and
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum infections).
5 See also
7 External links
It was first described by MacClean et al. in 1946 from US servicemen
and peoples of the South Pacific suffering from sore throat. Due to
its resemblance to another genus of bacteria, Corynebacterium, A.
haemolyticum was initially classified as C. pyogenes subspecies
hominus. It was known for several decades as Corynebacterium
haemolyticum; controversies regarding classification were resolved in
1982 when a new genus, Arcanobacterium, was created by Collins et
al. to reclassify
Corynebacterium haemolyticum on the basis of
its peptidoglycan, fatty acid, and
Since its initial description, the spectrum of diseases caused by A.
haemolyticum has been expanded to include sepsis and osteomyelitis.
Organisms are Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic,
catalase-negative rods (but transition to the coccal shape occurs as
the organism grows) with arrangements described as matchbox or Chinese
letters arrangements. Growth is enhanced in blood and by carbon
Hemolysis is detected on human blood agar plates, and routine plating
of specimens suspected of containing A. haemolyticum on human blood
agar is suggested to distinguish it from Streptococcus pyogenes, as A.
haemolyticum can easily be confused with this organism. Microscopic
morphology differences can be used to differentiate them, since
Arcanobacterium is rod-shaped and Streptococcus is coccus-shaped.
A. haemolyticum infection is most common in 15- to 25-year-old persons
and manifests as exudative pharyngitis and/or tonsillitis accompanied
by cervical lymphadenopathy. Symptoms look like those of β-hemolytic
streptococci or viral infection. A rash of the chest and of the
abdomen, neck, or extremities is seen in 20% to 25% of cases,
enhancing the risk of diagnostic error as streptococcal infection or
penicillin allergy, when β-lactam therapy is initiated without exact
A. haemolyticum often occurs in polymicrobic infections together with
typical respiratory pathogens such as streptococci. The isolation of
classical pathogens from specimens that also contain A. haemolyticum
might be in part responsible for the tendency to miss the organism.
A. haemolyticum is the cause of pharyngitis (sore throat) in up to
2.5% of cases. In one study, it was the causative agent of
pharyngitis in 1.4% of military conscripts. It is rarely found in
the skin or throat of healthy people, meaning it is not a member of
the usual bacterial flora.
Little is known about the means by which A. haemolyticum causes
infection or the associated skin manifestations. The organism is known
to produce uncharacterized hemolytic agent(s), a neuraminidase and a
phospholipase D (PLD) acting preferentially on sphingomyelin. PLD is
known to result in tissue damage, but the role in disease of the
cytotoxic effect caused by this extracellular toxin is not
Pyothorax has been reported.
A. haemolyticum isolated from humans is susceptible to
erythromycin (proposed as the first-line drug), clindamycin,
gentamicin, and cephalosporins.
The use of parenteral antimicrobial drugs must be limited to serious
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum infection
^ a b Volante M, Corina L, Contucci AM, Calò L, Artuso A (2008).
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum: two case reports". Acta
Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 28: 144–6. PMC 2644988 .
^ MacLean PD, Liebow AA, Rosenberg AA (1946). "A hemolytic
Corynebacterium ovis and Corynebacterium
pyogenes in man". J Infect Dis. 79: 69–90.
^ a b Linder R (1997). "
Rhodococcus equi and Arcanobacterium
haemolyticum: two "coryneform" bacteria increasingly recognized as
agents of human infection". Emerging Infect. Dis. 3 (2): 145–53.
doi:10.3201/eid0302.970207. PMC 2627624 .
^ Collins, MD; Jones, D; Schofield, GM (1982), "Reclassification of
Corynebacterium haemolyticum' (MacLean, Liebow & Rosenberg) in
Arcanobacterium gen.nov. as
nom.rev., comb.nov.", J Gen Microbiol, 128 (6): 1279–1281,
doi:10.1099/00221287-128-6-1279, PMID 7119737.
^ Collins, MD; et al. (1982), "Chemical studies as a guide to the
Corynebacterium pyogenes and "Corynebacterium
haemolyticum"", J Gen Microbiol, 128 (2): 335–341,
doi:10.1099/00221287-128-2-335, PMID 7077293.
Arcanobacterium Haemolyticum: Overview - eMedicine". Archived from
the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-07. Retrieved
^ "EID V3 N2:
Rhodococcus equi and
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum: Two
Bacteria Increasingly Recognized as Agents of Human
Infection". Archived from the original on 27 September 2008. Retrieved
^ Mackenzie A, Fuite LA, Chan FT, King J, Allen U, MacDonald N,
Diaz-Mitoma F (1995). "Incidence and pathogenicity of Arcanobacterium
haemolyticum during a 2-year study in Ottawa". Clin Infect Dis. 21
(1): 177–81. doi:10.1093/clinids/21.1.177.
^ Carlson P, Kontianinen S, Renkonen OV, Sivonen A, Vorpi R
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum and streptococcal pharyngitis in army
conscripts Scand J Infect Dis. 1995; 27 (1) 17–8
^ Parija SC, Kaliaperumal V, Kumar SV, Sujatha S, Babu V, Balu V
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum associated with pyothorax: case
report". BMC Infectious Diseases. 5: 68. doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-68.
PMC 1236925 . PMID 16144543.
^ Malini A, Deepa EK, Manohar PV, Borappa K, Prasad SR (2008). "Soft
tissue infections with
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum: report of three
cases". Indian J Med Microbiol. 26 (2): 192–5.
doi:10.4103/0255-0857.40543. PMID 18445965.
Type strain of
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum at
BacDive - the Bacterial
Gram-positive bacterial infection:
A00–A79, 001–041, 080–109)
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum infection
Tuberculosis: Ghon focus/Ghon's complex
Tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis
Tuberculosis cutis orificialis
Primary inoculation tuberculosis
Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis
Leprosy: Tuberculoid leprosy
Borderline tuberculoid leprosy
Borderline lepromatous leprosy
M. avium complex/
Nocardia asteroides/Nocardia brasiliensis
Group JK corynebacterium sepsis