Microbiological Approach to a Possible Infective Endocarditis Case Caused by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans

Gurcan S., Unlu S., Kuloglu F., Karadenizli A. , Kuskucu M. A.

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.50, pp.315-321, 2016 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 50
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.5578/mb.10803
  • Title of Journal : MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI
  • Page Numbers: pp.315-321


Aggregatibacter (Actinobacillus) actinomycetemcomitans, a small, gram-negative coccobacillus that grows slow and fastidious, is generally colonized in the oral cavity. It is a rarely seen bacterium because of the difficulty of isolation but it can be a causative agent for dental infections and infective endocarditis (IE) particularly in the persons having prosthetic heart valves. In this report, a possible IE case caused by A.actinomycetemcomitans in a patient with aortic valve replacement has been presented. A 36-year-old man has admitted to Trakya University Hospital, Health Center for Medical Research and Practice, with the complaints of chills, malaise, intermittent fever, severe arthralgia and weight loss (20 kg). During his follow-up period, the blood cultures that were obtained three week intervals yielded the identical gram negative coccobacilli morphology. The patient was then diagnosed as possible IE on the basis of having one major (growth of the typical microorganisms that may cause IE in two different blood cultures) and two minor (presence of prosthetic valve and high fever) criterias. The isolate could not be identified with conventional methods, while it was identified as Francisella tularensis with VITEK 2 (bioMerieux, France) system. Hence this identification was not confirmed by real-time Taqman polymerase chain reaction, so MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry was used to identify this bacteria. In the first run of the study, the isolate was named as Shigella dysenteriae initially, however when it was retested the next day it was identified as A.actinomycetemcomitans. In order to enlighten these conflicting results, 16S and 23S ribosomal DNA sequence analysis was performed, and consequently the bacterium was identified as A.actinomycetemcomitans. Doxycycline (2 x 100 mg po, 20 days) and streptomycin (2 x 10 mg/kg im, 10 days) therapy were initiated, considering the initial suspicious identification (F.tularensis), and on the fifth day of therapy the blood culture was negative with the regression of patient's complaints. Therapy continued with the addition of rifampicin to doxycycline from the 21(st) day and the patient discharged with cure. As a result, the identification of an exceptional bacterium like A.actinomycetemcomitans may be difficult and time-consuming in certain laboratory facilities. So, the use of different identification methods in addition to classical methods are needed to overcome such a problem, especially for uncommon isolates and clinically discordant cases. This case was presented because A.actinomycetemcomitans is a rare etiological agent for IE patients and it could be a good example to draw attention to the problem when identifying the organism using automatized identification systems.