Lau SK, Fan RY, Lo HW, Ng RH, Wong SS, Li IW, Wu AK, Ng KH, Tseung S, Lee RA, Fung KS, Que TL, Yuen KY, Woo PC.
Catabacter hongkongensis is a recently described catalase-positive, motile, anaerobic, nonsporulating, Gram-positive coccobacillus that was first isolated from blood cultures of four patients from Hong Kong and Canada. Although DNA sequences representing C. hongkongensis have been detected in environmental sources, only one additional case of human infection has been reported, in France. We describe five cases of C. hongkongensis bacteremia in Hong Kong, two presenting with sepsis, one with acute gangrenous perforated appendicitis, one with acute calculous cholecystitis, and one with infected carcinoma of colon. Three patients, with gastrointestinal malignancy, died during admission. All five isolates were catalase positive, motile, and negative for indole production and nitrate reduction and produced acid from arabinose, glucose, mannose, and xylose. They were unambiguously identified as C. hongkongensis by 16S rRNA gene analysis. Of the total of 10 reported cases of C. hongkongensis bacteremia in the literature and this study, most patients had underlying diseases, while two cases occurred in healthy young individuals with acute appendicitis. Six patients presented with infections associated with either the gastrointestinal or biliary tract, supporting the gastrointestinal tract as the source of bacteremia. C. hongkongensis bacteremia is associated with a poor prognosis, with a high mortality of 50% among reported cases, especially in patients with advanced malignancies. All reported isolates were susceptible to metronidazole. Identification of more C. hongkongensis isolates by 16S rRNA gene sequencing will help better define its epidemiology and pathogenesis.