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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Actinomycosis is rare, chronic bacterial infection which results in a slowly progressive granulomatous disease.

  • the bacteria which is a filamentous Gram positive anaerobic bacteria from the Actinomycetaceae family (genus Actinomyces) is a normal colonizing organism of the human oropharynx, gastrointestinal tract, and urogenital tract.
  • it is mainly an endogenous infection where a breech in the mucous membrane results in bacteria invading the local structures and organs and causing a disease
  • A israelii is the commonest human pathogen while less common species include A naeslundii, A odontolyticus, A viscosus, A meyeri, A turicensis, and A radingae.

Often the bacteria coexists with other normal commensals e. g - Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans (previously Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans), fusobacteria, bacteroides, staphylococci (including S aureus),streptococci (including β haemolytic streptococci and S pneumoniae), or Enterobacteriaceae but precise pattern of organisms depends on the site of infection (1).

The infection spreads along the fascial planes and occasionally by the blood-stream, but not via the lymphatics.

Thermophilic actinomycetes found in hay are the cause of the extrinsic allergic alveolitis termed farmer's lung.


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