Sphingomonas paucimobilis: a persistent Gram-negative nosocomial infectious organism

J Hosp Infect. 2010 Jul;75(3):153-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2010.03.007.


Non-fermenting Gram-negative bacilli create a significant problem in clinical settings, being the most widespread cause of nosocomial infections. They are opportunistic pathogens that take advantage of underlying conditions and diseases. Sphingomonas paucimobilis, a non-fermenting Gram-negative bacillus, is regarded as of minor clinical significance; however, many instances of infections with this organism can be found in the literature. Infections include bacteraemia/septicaemia caused by contaminated solutions, e.g. distilled water, haemodialysis fluid and sterile drug solutions. Cases of pseudobacteraemia have been recorded in association with S. paucimobilis, as have many cases of unusual infections both invasive and severe, e.g. septic arthritis and osteomyelitis. No cases of death have been recorded in the literature related to S. paucimobilis. This review illustrates that S. paucimobilis is a more important pathogen than previously thought.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Arthritis, Infectious / microbiology
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / epidemiology*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Osteomyelitis / epidemiology
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Sphingomonas / isolation & purification*