Microbiological investigation and clinical significance of Corynebacterium spp. in respiratory specimens

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Nov;74(3):236-41. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Aug 29.


The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the pathogenic role of Corynebacterium species in lower respiratory tract infections as well as their routine laboratory investigation. From April 2007 to August 2009, 27 clinical isolates were significantly recovered from respiratory specimens of 27 different patients clinically suspected of having lower respiratory tract infections. The average age of patients was 65 years, while 22 (81%) patients presented at least 1 predisposing condition. Of the 27 patients, 15 (56%) were classified as infected according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Healthcare Safety Network criteria, with 93% of infections being hospital acquired. All isolates were accurately identified to the species level using molecular methods (i.e., 17 Corynebacterium pseudodiphtheriticum, 7 Corynebacterium striatum, and 3 Corynebacterium accolens), whereas phenotypic methods remained frequently unreliable for identifying C. striatum and C. accolens strains. All tested isolates were susceptible to amoxicillin, imipenem, vancomycin, linezolid, and tigecycline, whereas most of them were resistant to erythromycin.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Corynebacterium / classification
  • Corynebacterium / drug effects
  • Corynebacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Corynebacterium / metabolism
  • Corynebacterium Infections / epidemiology
  • Corynebacterium Infections / microbiology*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents