August 1960

Alcaligenes Faecalis Infection in the Newborn

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, Mallory Institute of Pathology, the Pediatric Service, Boston City Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine.; Boston City Hospital, 818 Harrison Ave. (18) (Dr. Pryles).; Research Associate, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts Memorial Hospital; formerly, Senior Assistant Resident, Mallory Institute of Pathology (Dr. Sherman). Chief Resident, Pediatric Service, Boston City Hospital; Senior Teaching Fellow in Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine (Dr. Ingall). Chief Resident, Mallory Institute of Pathology; Teaching Fellow in Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School (Dr. Wiener). Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine; Associate Visiting Physician, Pediatric Service, Boston City Hospital; Assistant Physician, Children's Medical Service, Massachusetts General Hospital (Dr. Pryles).

Am J Dis Child. 1960;100(2):212-216. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.04020040214009

Alcaligenes faecalis (Bacterium alcaligenes) is usually considered a harmless saprophyte in the human intestinal tract. It seems to be well established, however, that the organism can be pathogenic.1,2 Human infection in a number of cases with the organism has been recorded, and the clinical picture has varied, depending upon the organ involved.3-9,12-40 While A. faecalis has not been frequently encountered as a cause of disease in the newborn, there have been reports of meningitis in a 9-day-old premature twin who was treated with chloramphenicol and recovered4; three cases of fatal meningitis, two of which were associated with bacteremia in newborn infants5,6; three children with diarrhea and grossly bloody stools, one of whom died,7 and one case of bilateral conjunctivitis in a 2-week-old infant.8

Infection with A. faecalis in infants is sufficiently rare to warrant reporting its occurrence; its isolation as the causative organism in

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