A 62-month retrospective epidemiological survey of anaerobic bacteraemia in a university hospital

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006 Jun;12(6):527-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2006.01407.x.


The incidence of anaerobic bacteraemia was studied retrospectively over 62 months at Mont-Godinne University Hospital, Yvoir, Belgium. The distribution of organisms, clinical presentations, choice of antimicrobial therapy and clinical outcome were analysed. The proportion of positive blood cultures yielding obligate anaerobes was 3.3%. The overall incidence of clinically significant anaerobic bacteraemia was 0.51 cases/1,000 patient admissions (0.61 cases/10,000 hospital-days), but was significantly higher in patients with active haematological malignancies than in other groups (5.97/10,000 vs. 0.33/10,000 hospital-days; p < 0.05). The Bacteroides fragilis group accounted for 61% of isolates, followed by Clostridium spp. (12.2%), Peptostreptococcus spp. and Leptotrichia spp. (7.3% each) and Fusobacterium spp. (4.8%). The most common risk-factors were gastrointestinal surgery (49%) and active haematological malignancies with chemotherapy and/or bone marrow graft (47%). One or more co-morbidities were present in 30 (77%) of 39 patients. The lower gastrointestinal tract (41%) and the oropharynx (23%) were the two most frequent presumed or proven sources for bacteraemia, with the origin remaining unknown in eight (20.5%) cases. The overall mortality rate (evaluated 7 days after the occurrence of bacteraemia) was 13%. Fatal outcome correlated with the severity of underlying diseases and the immunosuppressed status of the patients rather than with the causative pathogen or the effectiveness of antimicrobial therapy. Likewise, there was no difference in the mortality rate between patients with monomicrobial and polymicrobial bacteraemia. Overall, the data re-emphasise the importance of anaerobic bacteraemia, especially in patients with haematological malignancies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteremia / drug therapy
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Bacteremia / microbiology*
  • Bacteremia / mortality
  • Bacteria, Anaerobic / classification
  • Bacteria, Anaerobic / isolation & purification*
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Demography
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Hematologic Neoplasms*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors