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October 1983

Serious Infections Induced by Specific Oral Habits

Author Affiliations

University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, NY

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(10):1021. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140360081023

We are all diseas'd and with our surfeiting and wonton hours Have brought ourselves into a burning fever, and we must bleed for it. William Shakespeare (Henry IV)

Polymicrobial infections with organisms derived from the mouth occur in wounds inflicted by a human bite. These infections may be contiguous to the mouth or at a distance. We observed two instances of infections with bacteria consistent with oral flora, without a clearly established route of infection. Unrecognized, inconsequential habits of these children were responsible for self-inoculation with their own saliva. These cases demonstrate the importance of rigorous pursuit of the pathogenesis of infections with agents known to reside in specific locations in the body, even in the absence of an obvious connection.

Report of Cases.—Case 1.—An 18-month-old male infant was hospitalized in September 1982, with bilateral orbital and left flank masses and intermittent fever for four days. Acute