Term stillbirth caused by oral Fusobacterium nucleatum

Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Feb;115(2 Pt 2):442-445. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181cb9955.


Background: Intrauterine infection is a recognized cause of adverse pregnancy outcome, but the source of infection is often undetermined. We report a case of stillbirth caused by Fusobacterium nucleatum that originated in the mother's mouth.

Case: A woman with pregnancy-associated gingivitis experienced an upper respiratory tract infection at term, followed by stillbirth a few days later. F. nucleatum was isolated from the placenta and the fetus. Examination of different microbial floras from the mother identified the same clone in her subgingival plaque but not in the supragingival plaque, vagina, or rectum.

Conclusion: F. nucleatum may have translocated from the mother's mouth to the uterus when the immune system was weakened during the respiratory infection. This case sheds light on patient management for those with pregnancy-associated gingivitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chorioamnionitis / microbiology
  • Female
  • Focal Infection, Dental / complications
  • Focal Infection, Dental / microbiology*
  • Fusobacterium Infections / complications
  • Fusobacterium Infections / microbiology*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / isolation & purification*
  • Gingivitis / complications
  • Gingivitis / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Stillbirth*
  • Term Birth
  • Uterus / microbiology