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Oligella Infections

By Larry M. Bush, MD, Maria T. Perez, MD

Oligella sp causes infection primarily of the GU tract.

The genus Oligella contains 2 species, Oligella urethralis and O. ureolytica.

O. urethralis is a commensal of the GU tract, and most clinical isolates are from the urine, predominantly from men. Although symptomatic infections are rare, bacteremia, septic arthritis that mimics gonococcal arthritis, and peritonitis have been reported.

O. ureolytica also occurs primarily in the urine, usually from patients with long-term urinary catheters or other urinary drainage systems. These patients have a propensity to develop urinary stones, possibly because the organism hydrolyzes urea and alkalinizes the urine, leading to precipitation of phosphates. Bacteremia has occurred in a patient with obstructive uropathy.

Diagnosis is by culture.

Because these organisms are rarely isolated, antimicrobial susceptibility data are limited; most are sensitive toβ-lactam antibiotics. However, aβ-lactamase–producing strain and strains resistant to ciprofloxacin have been identified.

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