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Pasteurella multocida infections. Report of 34 cases and review of the literature.

Pasteurella multocida, a small, gram-negative coccobacillus , is part of the normal oral flora of many animals, including the dog and cat. P. multocida is the etiologic agent in a variety of infectious disease syndromes. We have reported 34 cases of infection caused by P. multocida and have reviewed the English literature. P. multocida infections may be divided into three broad groups: 1. Infections resulting from animal bites and scratches : The most common infections caused by P. multocida are local wound infections following animal bites or scratches . Cats are the source of infection in 60 to 80% of cases and dogs in the great majority of the remainder. Local infections are characterized by the rapid appearance of erythema, warmth, tenderness, and frequently purulent drainage. The most common local complications are abscess formation and tenosynovitis. Serious local complications include septic arthritis proximal to bites or scratches , osteomyelitis resulting from direct inoculation or extension of cellulitis, and the combination of septic arthritis and osteomyelitis, most commonly involving a finger or hand after a cat bite. 2. Isolation of P. multocida from the respiratory tract: The isolation of P. multocida from the respiratory tract must be interpreted differently than its isolation from other systemic sites. Most commonly P. multocida found in the respiratory tract is a commensal organism in patients with underlying pulmonary disease, but serious respiratory tract infections including pneumonia, empyema, and lung abscesses may develop. Most patients with respiratory tract colonization or infection have a history of animal exposure. 3. Other systemic infections: P. multocida is recognized as a pathogen in a variety of systemic infections including bacteremia, meningitis, brain abscess, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and intra-abdominal abscess. P. multocida often acts as an opportunistic pathogen with a predilection for causing bacteremia in patients with liver dysfunction, septic arthritis in damaged joints, meningitis in the very young or elderly, and pulmonary colonization or invasion in patients with underlying respiratory tract abnormalities.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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