M. catarrhalis (formerly known as Branhamella catarrhalis) is a frequent cause of
Lower respiratory infection in adults with chronic lung disease
It is the second most common bacterial cause of COPD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is airflow limitation caused by an inflammatory response to inhaled toxins, often cigarette smoke. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and various occupational... read more exacerbations after nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae.
M. catarrhalis pneumonia Overview of Pneumonia Pneumonia is acute inflammation of the lungs caused by infection. Initial diagnosis is usually based on chest x-ray and clinical findings. Causes, symptoms, treatment, preventive measures, and... read more resembles pneumococcal pneumonia.
Although bacteremia Bacteremia Bacteremia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream. It can occur spontaneously, during certain tissue infections, with use of indwelling genitourinary or IV catheters, or after dental... read more is rare, half of patients die within 3 months because of intercurrent diseases.
The prevalence of M. catarrhalis colonization depends on age. About 1 to 5% of healthy adults have upper respiratory tract colonization. Nasopharyngeal colonization with M. catarrhalis is common throughout infancy, may be increased during winter months, and is a risk factor for acute otitis media; early colonization is a risk factor for recurrent otitis media. Substantial regional differences in colonization rates occur. Living conditions, hygiene, environmental factors (eg, household smoking), genetic characteristics of the populations, host factors, and other factors may contribute to these differences.
The organism appears to spread contiguously from its colonizing position in the respiratory tract to the infection site.
There is no pathognomonic feature of M. catarrhalis otitis media, acute or chronic sinusitis, or pneumonia. In lower respiratory disease, patients have increased cough, purulent sputum production, and increased dyspnea.
These gram-negative diplococci resemble Neisseria species but can be readily distinguished by routine biochemical tests after culture isolation from infected fluids or tissues.
All strains now produce beta-lactamase. The organism is generally susceptible to beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitors, sulfamethoxazole, tetracyclines, extended-spectrum oral cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, macrolides, and fluoroquinolones.