Clinical characteristics of bloodstream infection by Parvimonas micra: retrospective case series and literature review

BMC Infect Dis. 2020 Aug 5;20(1):578. doi: 10.1186/s12879-020-05305-y.


Background: Gram-positive anaerobic (GPA) bacteria inhabit different parts of the human body as commensals but can also cause bacteremia. In this retrospective observational study, we analyzed GPA bacteremia pathogens before (2013-2015) and after (2016-2018) the introduction of the matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS).

Method: We conducted a retrospective observational study by searching the microbiology database to identify all positive GPA blood cultures of patients with GPA bacteremia diagnosed using the new technique, MALDI-TOF MS, between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2018; and using a conventional phenotypic method between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015 at a single tertiary center in Japan. Parvimonas micra (P. micra) (17.5%) was the second most frequently identified GPA (MALDI-TOF MS); we then retrospectively reviewed electronic medical records for 25 P. micra bacteremia cases at our hospital. We also conducted a literature review of published cases in PubMed from January 1, 1980, until December 31, 2019; 27 cases were retrieved.

Results: Most cases of P. micra bacteremia were identified after 2015, both, at our institute and from the literature review. They were of mostly elderly patients and had comorbid conditions (malignancies and diabetes). In our cases, laryngeal pharynx (7/25, 28%) and gastrointestinal tract (GIT; 6/25, 24%) were identified as the most likely sources of bacteremia; however, the infection source was not identified in 9 cases (36%). P. micra bacteremia were frequently associated with spondylodiscitis (29.6%), oropharyngeal infection (25.9%), intra-abdominal abscess (14.8%), infective endocarditis (11.1%), septic pulmonary emboli (11.1%), and GIT infection (11.1%) in the literature review. Almost all cases were treated successfully with antibiotics and by abscess drainage. The 30-day mortalities were 4 and 3.7% for our cases and the literature cases, respectively.

Conclusions: Infection sites of P. micra are predominantly associated with GIT, oropharyngeal, vertebral spine, intra-abdominal region, pulmonary, and heart valves. Patients with P. micra bacteremia could have good prognosis following appropriate treatment.

Keywords: Bacteremia; Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria; MALDI-TOF MS; Parvimonas micra.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteremia / diagnosis*
  • Bacteremia / drug therapy
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Blood Culture
  • Discitis / microbiology
  • Female
  • Firmicutes / chemistry*
  • Firmicutes / isolation & purification
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / blood*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / diagnosis*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Oropharynx / microbiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents

Supplementary concepts

  • Parvimonas micra