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December 1978

Pharyngeal Flora in Ambulatory Alcoholic Patients: Prevalence of Gram-Negative Bacilli

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Disease Section, Departments of Medicine and Research, Veterans Administration Hospital and University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan. Dr Fuxench-López was the recipient of a Student Research Award of the Puerto Rico Medical Association in November 1976.

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(12):1815-1816. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630370033017

The pharyngeal flora of a group of ambulatory alcoholic patients was studied and compared with the pharyngeal flora of a control group. Sixty-eight patients were studied, 34 alcoholics and 28 controls. Of the alcoholic patients, 59% had Gram-negative bacilli in their pharyngeal flora, while 14% of the control group had the same organisms. There were no differences in Gram-positive cocci colonization between the groups. Klebsiella pneumoniae was the most frequent isolate (40%) and the Klebsiella-Enterobacter group accounted for 76% of the isolates. Colonization rates of greater than 10 colony forming units/ml were found in 43% of the alcoholic patients. The high prevalence and higher colonization rates of Gram-negative bacilli in alcoholic patients might explain the higher incidence of Gram-negative bacillary pneumonia among alcoholics.

(Arch Intern Med 138:1815-1816, 1978)