Edwardsiella tarda—identification and clinical significance

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THE family Enterobacteriaceae is composed of a group of gram-negative bacilli, members of which are among the most frequently encountered organisms in specimens submitted to the clinical microbiology laboratory for culture. Edwards and Ewing1 described this family of microorganisms in detail and presented a classification based on the study of numerous biochemical and serologic characteristics of more than 11,000 strains. Recently this classification was revised,2 and now includes a new tribe, Edwardsielleae, with a single genus Edwardsiella. The type and only species is Edwardsiella tarda.

Our paper presents a report of two cases of the isolation of Edwardsiella tarda from clinical material, a short review of pertinent scientific reports, and a description of clinically useful biochemical reactions that may be used to distinguish this new genus from other biochemically related members of Enterobacteriaceae.

Report of Cases

Case 1. A 15-year-old Caucasian boy was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic Hospital in July 1967 because of an injury sustained four days earlier while swimming in a lake in Ontario, Canada. The patient had struck a submerged log, and a large wood splinter entered his right thigh. He consulted a local physician, who made a clinical diagnosis of gas gangrene, and gave him injections of penicillin, streptomycin, and tetanus toxoid. The boy was referred to the Cleveland Clinic for further treatment, with possibly the use of hyperbaric oxygen.

On admission to the Cleveland Clinic Hospital, his temperature was 100.8 F and he was in acute distress. Results of the physical examination were normal . . .



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