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Oligella Infections


Larry M. Bush

, MD, FACP, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University;

Maria T. Vazquez-Pertejo

, MD, FACP, Wellington Regional Medical Center

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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Oligella species are gram-negative organisms that cause infection primarily of the genitourinary tract.

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

O. urethralis is a commensal of the genitourinary 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 of Oligella infections is by culture.

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

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