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Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis caused by Streptococcus bovis: case series and review of the literature.

Streptococcus bovis is the rare cause of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in decompensated cirrhosis. S. bovis bacteremia has long been known to be associated with colon cancer. We describe seven patients and review the seven previous reports of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis patients with S. bovis infection. Most of the patients had cirrhosis and presented with fever, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, and jaundice. Colonic adenomatous polyps with dysplastic change were found in 18.2% of the patients. The approach to this group of patients requires diagnostic paracentesis, blood cultures, ascitic fluid culture, and treatment with antimicrobial agents. Intravenous penicillin is still the antimicrobial agent of first choice (mean minimum inhibitory concentration for penicillin = 0.05 microg/ml). S. bovis is an infrequent cause of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. The physician could make a case that colonoscopy is not needed because the patient is very sick and the possibility of GI pathology, especially colonic lesions, has been low. However, it may be that colonoscopy should be done if there are clinical suggestions to do so or the patient is well enough to withstand surgery.

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