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August 1991

Eikenella Infections of the Face and Neck

Author Affiliations

Denver, Colo

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(8):836. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870200018001

In 1958, Eiken described and characterized a gram-negative obligate or facultative aerobic organism for which he proposed the name Bacteroides corrodens. Subsequently, the strictly anaerobic organisms continued to be classified as B corrodens, while faculative anaerobes were reclassified in the new genus Eikenella.1 These reports were of merely bacteriologic interest, until several investigators began to report the emerging clinical importance of the organism, particularly in infections of the oral cavity, face, and neck. Since the incidence of Eikenella infection appears to be rising, and since the organism possesses unique features that may make it difficult to diagnose and treat, facial plastic surgeons need to be aware of this unusual bacteria and its clinical characteristics.

Eikenella corrodens is present as endogenous flora in the mouth and upper respiratory tract as well as on other mucous surfaces of the body. Dental plaque appears to be the main oral ecological niche in