Skip to main content

Systemic and deep-seated infections caused byArcanobacterium haemolyticum


Arcanobacterium haemolyticum has been implicated mainly in non-streptococcal pharyngitis and wound infections. Rarely, it has been reported to cause systemic infection, often in combination with other pathogens. Two cases of systemic and deep-seated infections caused byArcanobacterium haemolyticum are reported, and the literature is reviewed. Sixteen cases of bacteremia and seven cases of non-bacteremic deep-seated have been published previously. Eight of the bacteremic and two of the non-bacteremic cases occurred in younger, apparently healthy immunocompetent patients. Six patients had infections of the central nervous system. The optimal treatment of infections caused byArcanobacterium haemolyticum is not known. Although in vitro susceptibility tests have demonstrated tolerance ofArcanobacterium haemolyticum to penicillin, penicillins with or without aminoglycosides have been the most widely used antibiotics, in most cases with success.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Maclean PD, Liebow AA, Rosenberg AA: A hemolytic corynebacterium resemblingCorynebacterium ovis andCorynebacterium pyogenes in man. Journal of Infectious Diseases (1946) 79:69–90

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Carlson P, Kontianinen S, Renkonen OV, Sivonen A, Visakorpi R:Arcanobacterium haemolyticum and streptococcal pharyngitis in army conscripts. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases (1995) 27:17–18

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Mackenzie A, Fuite LA, Chan FTH, King J, Allen U, MacDonald N, Diaz-Mitoma F: Incidence and pathogenicity ofArcanobacterium haemolyticum during a 2-year study in Ottawa. Clinical Infectious Diseases (1995) 21:177–181

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Waagner DC:Arcanobacterium haemolyticum: biology of the organism and diseases in man. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (1991) 10:933–939

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Barker KF, Renton NE, Lee PYC, James DH:Arcanobacterium haemolyticum wound infection. Journal of Infection (1992) 24:214–215

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Ceilley RI: Foot ulceration and vertebral osteomyelitis with-Arcanobacterium haemolyticum. Archives of Dermatology (1977) 113:646–647

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Ben-Yaacob D, Waron M, Boldur I, Gil I, Sompolinsky D: Septicemia due toArcanobacterium haemolyticum. Israel Journal of Medical Science (1984) 20:431–433

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Givner LB, McGehee D, Taber LH, Stein F, Sumaya CV: Sinusitis, orbital cellulitis and polymicrobial bacteremia in a patient with primary Epstein-Barr virus infection. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (1984) 3:254–256

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Chhang WH, Ayyagari A, Sharma BS, Kak VK:Arcanobacterium haemolyticum brain abscess in a child (a case report). Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology (1991) 34:145–148

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Ford JG, Yeatts RP, Givner LB: Orbital cellulitis, subperiosteal abscess, sinusitis, and septicemia caused byArcanobacterium haemolyticum. American Journal of Ophthalmology (1995) 120:261–262

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Washington JA, Martin WJ, Spiekerman RE: Brain abscess withCorynebacterium hemolyticum: report of a case. American Journal of Clinical Pathology (1971) 56:212–215

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Dethy M, Hantson P, Van-Bosterhaut B, Swine C, Sassine A: Septicemia caused byArcanobacterium haemolyticum (Corynebacterium haemolyticum) andStreptococcus milleri. Acta Clinica Belgica (1986) 41:115–118

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Goudswaard J, van-de-Merwe DW, van-der-Sluys P, Doorn H:Arcanobacterium haemolyticum septicemia in a girl with mononucleosis infectiosa. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases (1988) 20:339–340

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Alós JI, Barros C, Gómez-Garcés JL: Endocarditis caused byArcanobacterium haemolyticum. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (1995) 14:1085–1088

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Chandrasekar PH, Molinari JA:Corynebacterium hemolyticum bacteremia with fatal neurologic complication in an intravenous drug addict. American Journal of Medicine (1987) 82:638–640

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Worthington MG, Daly BDT, Smith FE:Corynebacterium hemolyticum endocarditis on a native valve. Southern Medical Journal (1985) 78:1261–1262

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Altmann G, Bogokovsky B: Brain abscess due toArcanobacterium haemolyticum. Lancet (1973) i: 378–379

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Cook IF, Cabral DA, Reed WD, Bond RJ, Henderson A: Intracranial complications of sphenoidal sinus inflammation. Medical Journal of Austria (1981) 1:366

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Minárik T, Sufliarsky J, Trupl J, Krcmery VJ:Arcanobacterium haemolyticum invasive infections, including meningitis in cancer patients. Journal of Infection (1997) 34:91

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Waller KS, Johnson J, Wood BP: Radiological case of the month. Cavitary pneumonia due toArcanobacterium. haemolyticum. American Journal of Diseases of Children (1991) 145:209–210

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Chlosta EM, Richards GK, Wagner E, Holland JF: An opportunistic infection withCorynebacterium pyogenes producing empyema. American Journal of Clinical Pathology (1970) 53:167–170

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Coyle MB, Lipsky BA: Coryneform bacteria in infectious diseases: clinical and laboratory aspects. Clinical Microbiology Reviews (1990) 3:227–246

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Dieleman LA, de-Marie S, Mouton RP, Bloem JL, Peters WG, Bos AJ, Schaal KP: Paravertebral abscess due to nondiphtheria coryneform bacteria as a complication of ingrown toenails. Journal of Infection (1989) 17:26–27

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Hoosen AA, Rasool MN, Roux L: Posttraumatic ankle joint infection withArcanobacterium haemolyticum: a case report. Journal of Infectious Diseases (1990) 162:780–781

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Procek J, Hlava H: Pyogenic Corynebacterium as a pathogen in osteomyelitis following a fracture. Acta Chirurgicae Orthopaedicae et Traumatologiae Cechhoslovaca (1961) 28:546–548

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Dale BAB, Mackenzie IJ: The complications of sphenoid sinusitis. Journal of Laryngology and Otology (1983) 97:661–670

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Cummings LA, Wu WK, Larson AM, Gavin SE, Fine JS, Coyle MB: Effects of media, atmosphere, and incubation time on colonial morphology ofArcanobacterium haemolyticum. Journal of Clinical Microbiology (1993) 31:3223–3226

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Carlson P, Lounatmaa K, Kontiainen S: Biotypes ofArcanobacterium haemolyticum. Journal of Clinical Microbiology (1994) 32:1654–1657

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Nyman M, Alugupalli KR, Strömberg S, Forsgren A: Antibody response toArcanobacterium haemolyticum infection in humans. Journal of Infectious Diseases (1997) 175:1515–1518

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Carlson P, Kontiainen S, Renkonen OV: Antimicrobial susceptibility ofArcanobacterium haemolyticum. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (1994) 38:142–143

    Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Nyman M, Banck G, Thore M: Penicillin tolerancein Arcanobacterium haemolyticum. Journal of Infectious Diseases (1990) 161:261–265

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Banck G, Nyman M: Tonsillitis and rash associated withArcanobacterium haemolyticum. Journal of Infectious Diseases (1986) 154:1037–1040

    Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Fell HWK, Nagington J, Naylor GRE, Olds RJ:Arcanobacterium haemolyticum infections in Cambridgeshire. Journal of Hygiene (1977) 79:269–275

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Österlund A: Are penicillin treatment failures inArcanobacterium haemolyticum pharyngotonsillitis caused by intracellularly residing bacteria? Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases (1995) 27:131–134

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Jobanputra RS, Swain CP: Septicaemia due toArcanobacterium haemolyticum. Journal of Clinical Pathology (1975) 28:798–800

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. L. Skov.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Skov, R.L., Sanden, A.K., Danchell, V.H. et al. Systemic and deep-seated infections caused byArcanobacterium haemolyticum . Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 17, 578–582 (1998).

Download citation


  • Nervous System
  • Central Nervous System
  • Internal Medicine
  • Penicillin
  • Wound Infection