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Volume 8, Number 2—February 2002


Traditional and Molecular Techniques for the Study of Emerging Bacterial Diseases: One Laboratory’s Perspective

Pierre Houpikian and Didier RaoultComments to Author 
Author affiliations: Unité des Rickettsies, Faculté de Médecine de Marseille, Marseille, France

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Table 1

Key steps that led to identification and demonstration of disease causation for emerging bacteriaa

Group Species Clinical picture Histologic detection Serology Molecular
(gene) Culture system Year of culture Ref.
Alpha1 Proteobacteria
Ehrlichia chaffeensis Fever, cytopenia Smear Antibodies to Ehrlichia canis] 16S rRNA Cell line (DH82) 1991 5
E. ewingii Fever, cytopenia Smear Western blot 16S rRNA Cell line 1971 6
Human granulocytic Ehrlichia Fever, cytopenia Smear Antibodies to E. phagocytophila, E. equis 16S rRNA Cell line (HeLa) 1996 7
Rickettsia felis Fever gltA Cell line (XTC-2) 2000 8
R. japonica] Spotted fever Antibodies to Spotted fever group rickettsiae Cell line (Vero) 1989 9
R. mongolotimonae Febrile rash Antibodies to Spotted fever group rickettsiae rOmpA Embryonated egg, guinea pig 1991 10
R. slovaca Fever, eschar, lymphadenitis Specific antibodies rOmpA Cell line 1968 11
Alpha2 Proteobacteriae
Afipia broomae Wrist abscess Axenic (specific) 1981 12
A. clevelandensis Osteitis Axenic (specific) 1988 12
Bartonella elizabethae Endocarditis Axenic (nonspecific) 1993 13
B. grahamii Neuro-retinitis Antibodies to
B. henselae 16S rRNA Axenic (nonspecific) 1995 14
B. henselae Fever, cat scratch disease, bacillary angiomatosis Tissue section Specific antibodies 16S rRNA Axenic (nonspecific) 1990 15,16
Beta Proteobacteriae
Bordetella trematum Chronic otitis Axenic (nonspecific) 1996 17
Neisseria weaveri Infected wound Axenic (nonspecific) 1993 18
Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. afzelii, B. garinii Erythema chronicum migrans, acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans, Lyme arthritis, neuro-borreliosis Specific antibodies Axenic (specific) 1981 19
B. duttonii Relapsing fever Smear Specific antibodies Axenic (specific), animal model 1999 20
B. recurrentis Relapsing fever Smear Axenic (specific) 1994 21
Delta-Xi Proteobacteriae
Campylobacter coli, C. jejuni Febrile diarrhea Specific antibodies Axenic (nonspecific) 1977 22
Helicobacter cinaedi, H. fennelliae Rectitis Axenic (nonspecific) 1984 23
H. heilmanii Chronic gastritis Tissue section Mouse 1989 24
H. pylori Gastritis, gastroduodenal ulcer Tissue section Specific antibodies Axenic (nonspecific) 1982 25
Gamma Proteobacteriae
Escherichia coli O48:H21, O103:H2, O157:H7 Bloody diarrhea, HUS slt Axenic (nonspecific) 1982-1996 26
Haemophilus influenzae biogroup aegyptius Brazilian purpuric fever Axenic (nonspecific) 1986 27
Legionella anisa Pneumonia, Pontiac fever Specific antibodies Axenic (specific) 1989 28
L. bozemanii Pneumonia Smear Specific antibodies Axenic (specific) 1983 29
L. dumoffii Pneumonia Smear Specific antibodies Axenic (specific) 1978 29
L. feeleii Pneumonia, Pontiac fever Specific antibodies Axenic (specific) 1986 30
L. micdadei Pneumonia Specific antibodies Embryonated egg, guinea pig 1979 29
L. oakridgensis Pneumonia Smear Specific antibodies Axenic (specific) 1987 29
L. pneumophila Pneumonia Tissue section Specific antibodies Embryonated egg, Guinea pig 1947 31
Legionella like amoebal pathogen Pneumonia Specific antibodies Amoeba 1991 32
Vibrio alginolyticus Conjunctivitis, wound infection Axenic (nonspecific) 1977 33
V. cholerae O:139 Diarrhea Axenic (nonspecific) 1992 33
V. fluvialis Diarrhea Axenic (nonspecific) 1980 33
V. furnissii Diarrhea Axenic (nonspecific) 1983 33
V. metschnikovii Cholecystitis Axenic (nonspecific) 1981 33
V. mimicus Diarrhea, otitis Axenic (nonspecific) 1981 33
Mycobacterium asiaticum Pneumopathy Axenic (specific) 1983 34
M. celatum Pneumopathy Axenic (specific) 1992 34
M. genavense Disseminated infection, lymphadenitis Tissue section Axenic (specific) 1992 34
M. malmoense Pneumopathy, lymphadenitis Axenic (specific) 1977 34
M. simiae Pneumopathy, osteitis, kidney infection Axenic (specific) 1984 34
M. fermentans Pneumopathy, nephritis Tissue section Insertion sequence-like Axenic (specific) 1993 35
M. genitalium Urethritis Smear Adhesion protein Axenic (specific),
Animal model 1981 35
Gram-positive bacteria
Tropheryma whipplei Whipple disease Tissue section Specific antibodies 16S rRNA Cell line
(HEL) 2000 2,36
Corynebacterium auris Acute otitis Axenic (nonspecific) 1995 37
Staphylococcus lugdunensis, S. schleiferi Skin abscess, osteoarthritis Axenic (nonspecific) 1988 38
Streptococcus iniae Meningitis, endocarditis, cellulitis Axenic (nonspecific) 1995 39

aHistologic detection can be performed with morphologic techniques, in blood or tissue smears, or in tissue sections. Serologic assays can detect specific antibodies to the suspected agent or to a related organism in tissues or in biological fluids. The year of the first isolation and the culture system used are indicated. HUS = hemolytic uremic syndrome. HLE=human embryonic lung fibroblasts; ref = reference.

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