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January 1963

Fusobacterium Septicemia Following a Human Bite

Author Affiliations


Fourth Year Student, Georgetown University Medical School (Mr. Murphy).; Chief, Medical Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Associate Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical School (Dr. Katz).; Trainee, American Thoracic Society (Dr. Massaro).; Medical Service, Veterans Administration Hospital and Department of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical School.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(1):51-53. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620250055008

Within the family Bacteroidaceae are included Bacteroides, Dialister, Spherophorus, Streptobacillus, and Fusobacterium. Of these groups, the most significant in causing human infections are Bacteroides and Fusobacterium. There have been 6 previous cases of septicemia due to Fusobacterium recorded in the literature,1-5 the most recent being included in an extensive review by Tynes and Utz. It is the purpose of this paper to report another instance of Fusobacterium septicemia. In addition, we believe this case to be unique in that the portal of entry was most likely a human bite.

Report of a Case  A 28-year-old Negro male clerk was admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital, Washington, D.C., with fever and jaundice. Ten days prior to admission he sustained a laceration to the left arm and thumb by a human bite. Shortly thereafter the thumb became swollen and hot with an erythematous streak extending to the wrist. This persisted, and