Haemophilus spp.

  • Douglas I. Johnson


  • Genomics:
    • Haemophilus influenzae chromosome: 1,830,140 bp; 736 predicted ORFs (Fleischmann et al. 1995)

  • Cell morphology:
    • Very small pleomorphic coccobacilli (Fig. 17.1)

  • Gram stain:
    • Gram negative

  • Growth:
    • Aerotolerant anaerobes; catalase positive, oxidase positive:
      • In vitro growth requires CO2-enriched environment

    • Very fastidious growth.

    • H. influenzae requires X factor and V factor:
      • X factor: hemin; contains Fe3+ ion; released from lysed red blood cells (chocolate agar)

      • V factor: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)

    • Temperature sensitive:
      • Stocks must be stored at 37 °C for survival.

    • Human commensal that colonizes mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, nasopharynx, mouth, vagina, and intestinal tract; opportunistic pathogen.

    • Eighteen species: one major human pathogenic species (H. influenzae) and several minor pathogenic species:
      • Haemophilus influenzae subtype aegyptius: acute, purulent conjunctivitis, Brazilian purpuric fever

      • Haemophilus parainfluenzae: opportunistic pathogen of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients

      • Haemophilus ducreyi: causes inflammatory chancroid; sexually transmitted disease (Lewis and Mitjà 2016); contains a CDT DNAase that damages chromosomal DNA and causes a cell cycle arrest (Fais et al. 2016)

    • H. influenzae strains are characterized (typed) by the presence or absence of polyribosylribitolphosphate (PRP) capsule (Fig. 17.2).
      • Encapsulated strains – typeable strains:
        • Serotypes a–f: based on antibodies against PRP capsule antigens

        • Serotype b (Hib): most common; caused serious systemic infections (meningitis) before Hib vaccine

        • PRP capsule antigens: primary antigenic constituent in polysaccharide and polysaccharide conjugate Hib vaccines

      • Nonencapsulated strains – non-typeable H. influenza (NTHi):
        • Normal serum is usually bacteriocidal for most NTHi strains but not encapsulated strains

        • Great heterogeneity between NTHi strains


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas I. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology & Molecular GeneticsUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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