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Volume 26, Number 11—November 2020
Etymologia

Etymologia: Nocardia

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Christoffel J. OppermanComments to Author 
Author affiliation: Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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Nocardia [no-kahr¢ e-əm]

The genus Nocardia is named in honor of Edmond Isidore Etienne Nocard (1850–1903), a French veterinarian and microbiologist who discovered the bacteria in 1888 from a bovine farcy case. He named this filamentous, branching bacteria Streptothrix farcinica (Greek streptós- “twisted” and thrix “hair”). Farcy (old French farcin), is a form of cutaneous glanders, characterized by superficial lymph node swelling and ulcerating nodule formation under the skin (Late Latin farcīminum “glanders,” from Latin farcīmen “a sausage,” from farcīre “to stuff”).

Figure

Twisted hair bacteria (Nocardia spp.) described by Edmond Nocard, from a bronchial alveolar lavage sample. Nocardiosis is an opportunistic infection, commonly associated with pulmonary disease. Nocardia are partially acid-fast, filamentous, branching bacilli (modified Kinyoun acid-fast stain using weak acid [0.5% sulfuric acid] for decolorization and methylene blue counterstain, original magnification x1,000.) Photograph courtesy of the author.

Figure. Twisted hair bacteria (Nocardia spp.) described by Edmond Nocard, from a bronchial alveolar lavage sample. Nocardiosis is an opportunistic infection, commonly associated with pulmonary disease. Nocardiaare...

One year later, Trevisan characterized and termed the bacteria Nocardia farcinica (Figure), creating the genus Nocardia. In 1890, Eppinger isolated a similar organism from a brain abscess and called it Cladothrix asteroides (Greek kládos- “branch” and -thrix “hair”) because of its star-shaped colonies (Greek asteroeidēs “starlike”). Blanchard renamed the organism Nocardia asteriodes in 1896. Additional taxonomic work in 1962 resulted in Nocardia asteroides replacing Nocardia farcinica as the type species for the genus Nocardia.

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References

  1. Blanchard  R. 1896. Plant pests excluding bacteria [in French]. In: Bouchard C, editor. Treatise of general pathology. Volume II. Paris: Mason. p. 811–926.
  2. Gordon  RE, Mihm  JM. The type species of the genus Nocardia. J Gen Microbiol. 1962;27:110. DOIPubMed
  3. Nocard  E. Note on the disease of oxen from Guadeloupe known as farcin [in French]. Ann Inst Pasteur (Paris). 1888;2:293302.
  4. Saubolle  MA, Sussland  D. Nocardiosis: review of clinical and laboratory experience. J Clin Microbiol. 2003;41:4497501. DOIPubMed
  5. Trevisan  V. 1889. Genera and species of the batteries [in Italian]. Milan: Zanaboni and Gabuzzi; 1889.

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DOI: 10.3201/eid2611.et2611

Original Publication Date: October 05, 2020

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Table of Contents – Volume 26, Number 11—November 2020

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Christoffel J. Opperman, National Health Laboratory Service, Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Page created: October 05, 2020 10:33 AM EDT
Page updated: October 19, 2020 12:13 PM EDT
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