Bacteremia due to Fusobacterium species

Am J Med. 1983 Aug;75(2):225-31. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(83)91196-8.


Twenty-six patients were identified as having bacteremia with Fusobacterium species over a five-year period at Boston City Hospital. They represented 0.9 percent of bacteremic patients and were equally divided as to sex. Bacteremia with Fusobacterium occurred primarily in young adults and in patients over 60 years of age and was not observed in children. In 16 patients (62 percent), Fusobacterium was the only blood culture isolate. The most common primary foci of infection were the female genital tract, the upper respiratory tract, the oral cavity, and the lower respiratory tract. Five patients had primary foci of infection that were initially occult. Three of these patients were found to have unappreciated oral and pharyngeal lesions, and one had a liver abscess; no primary infection was established in the remaining patient. Shock related to bacteremia developed in six patients (23 percent), four of whom had Fusobacterium species as the only blood culture isolate. Death occurred in three patients (12 percent), all of whom were over 60 years old. Metastatic infection occurred in only one patient in whom hematogenous osteomyelitis developed. Postpartum fusobacterial bacteremia was uniformly benign. Evaluation of bacteremia with Fusobacterium species in nonpostpartum patients, without an overt focus of infection, should be directed to a search for occult abscess, especially of the upper respiratory tract and oral cavity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fusobacterium Infections / etiology*
  • Genital Diseases, Female / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Sepsis / etiology*
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Shock, Septic / etiology