Capnocytophaga and Related Infections
Capnocytophaga is a described genus of fastidious Gram-negative bacteria. Capnocytophaga canimorsus (CC) is associated with animal bites and/or exposures resulting in frequently fatal septicemia and meningitis. CC infections are being seen with increasing frequency. Capnocytophaga cynodegmi is uncommonly isolated and is associated with noninvasive wound infections. CC is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacillus. Attending physicians should be alert to the possibility of CC infections in patients presenting with histories of dog or cat bites or exposures, especially those over 50 years of age or with medical histories of chronic or immunosuppressive diseases. On clinical presentation of animal bite wounds, primary prophylaxis should center around vigorous wound cleansing, irrigation, and careful debridement. The role of CC in dogs and cats should be better defined. The only related animal references in the literature were studies to isolate pathogenic and nonpathogenic flora in the oral cavities of dogs and cats.