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Alcaligenes Faecalis Infection in the Newborn

JOSEPH D. SHERMAN, M.D., Ph.D.; DAVID INGALL, M.D.; JOSEPH WIENER, M.D.; CHARLES V. PRYLES, M.D.
Am J Dis Child. 1960;100(2):212-216. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.04020040214009.
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Alcaligenes faecalis (Bacterium alcaligenes) is usually considered a harmless saprophyte in the human intestinal tract. It seems to be well established, however, that the organism can be pathogenic.1,2 Human infection in a number of cases with the organism has been recorded, and the clinical picture has varied, depending upon the organ involved.3-9,12-40 While A. faecalis has not been frequently encountered as a cause of disease in the newborn, there have been reports of meningitis in a 9-day-old premature twin who was treated with chloramphenicol and recovered4; three cases of fatal meningitis, two of which were associated with bacteremia in newborn infants5,6; three children with diarrhea and grossly bloody stools, one of whom died,7 and one case of bilateral conjunctivitis in a 2-week-old infant.8

Infection with A. faecalis in infants is sufficiently rare to warrant reporting its occurrence; its isolation as the causative organism in

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