Infections due to Lancefield group C streptococci

Medicine (Baltimore). 1989 Jul;68(4):225-39. doi: 10.1097/00005792-198907000-00005.


Our experience with group C streptococcal infection over the past 15 years demonstrates an important and emerging role for this hemolytic organism as an opportunistic and nosocomial pathogen. Significant risk factors in this predominantly male population included chronic cardiopulmonary disease, diabetes, malignancy, and alcoholism. Bacteremia occurred in 74% of cases seen in our series. Nosocomial acquisition of infection was observed in 26%, and infection was frequently polymicrobial in nature with gram-negative enteric bacilli isolated most commonly along with group C streptococci. We observed a broad spectrum of infections including puerperal sepsis, pleuropulmonary infections, skin and soft-tissue infection, central nervous system infection, endocarditis, urinary tract infection, and pharyngeal infections. Several cases of bacteremia of unknown source were observed in neutropenic patients with underlying leukemia. New syndromes of infection due to group C streptococci observed in our series included intra-abdominal abscess, epidural abscess, and dialysis-associated infection. Response to therapy and outcome was related to the underlying disease. While the literature suggests that patients with group C endocarditis respond better to synergistic penicillin-aminoglycoside regimens, patient numbers are too small to draw definite conclusions. The clinical significance of antibiotic tolerant group C streptococci remains uncertain. In patients with serious group C infections including endocarditis, meningitis, septic arthritis, or bacteremia in neutropenic hosts, we advocate the initial use of cell-wall-acting agents in combination with an aminoglycoside.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Endocarditis / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ohio
  • Pharyngitis / etiology
  • Pleural Diseases / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Disorders / etiology
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Skin Diseases / etiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / complications
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Streptococcus / classification
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology