September 5, 1977

Freshwater Wound Infection Due to Aeromonas hydrophila

Author Affiliations

From the University Health Service (Dr Hanson), the State Laboratory of Hygiene (Mr Standridge), the Department of Surgery (Dr Jarrett), and the Department of Medicine (Drs Maki and Hanson), University of Wisconsin Center for Health Sciences, Madison.

JAMA. 1977;238(10):1053-1054. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280110057026

AEROMONAS hydrophila is a Gramnegative bacillus, member of the family Vibrionaceae, which is a common inhabitant of freshwater lakes and streams.1-4 It is not commonly identified as an agent of human infection. Most reports have described gastroenteritis, septicemia, meningitis, pneumonia, or surgical wound infections, primarily in immunocompromised patients.1,4-8

Infections of immunologically competent persons have been rare. We report a well-documented case of severe cellulitis in a previously healthy young man that derived from a laceration acquired during swimming. Aeromonas hydrophila was recovered in large numbers from the wound and was subsequently shown to be the major bacterial contaminant of the freshwater lake where the injury occurred. The clinical features of Aeromonas infections of freshwater traumatic wounds suggest a characteristic syndrome, indistinguishable from cellulitis caused by group A Streptococcus.

Report of a Case  A 22-year-old man sustained a full-thickness scalp laceration while diving in shallow water in Lake Mendota,