Other bacterial diseasesDiseases caused by corynebacteria and related organisms

Aruni De Zoysa

in Oxford Textbook of Zoonoses

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198570028
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199697823 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Other bacterial diseasesDiseases caused by corynebacteria and related organisms

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The genus Corynebacterium contains the species Corynebacterium diphtheriae and the non-diphtherial corynebacteria. C. diphtheriae is the major human pathogen in this genus, but several species of nondiphtheria corynebacteria appear to be emerging as important pathogens.

Zoonotic corynebacteria rarely cause disease in humans, but recent reports have indicated that the frequency and severity of infection associated with Corynebacterium ulcerans has increased in many countries. In the past most human C.ulcerans infections have occurred through close contact with farm animals or by consumption of unpasteurised dairy products. However, recently, there have been cases of human infection following close contact with household pets. Rhodococcus equi appears to be emerging as an important pathogen in immunocompromised patients, especially those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Human infections caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis is still a very rare occurrence.

Antibiotics in combination with surgery and vaccination are the treatment of choice for human infection. Control of human infection is best achieved by raising awareness in those at risk (e.g. domestic pet owners, sheep shearers, the immunocompromised), clinicians involved in treating these groups and by vaccination. Reducing prevalence in the animal population could be achieved by improving hygiene in farms and husbandry practices, reducing minor injuries (e.g. cuts and abrasions) during routine procedures, and by vaccination.

Chapter.  5900 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Infectious Diseases ; Epidemiology

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