Enterobacter aerogenes: A Detailed Overview

Among the genera in the Enterobacteriaceae family are Escherichia, Shigella, Salmonella, Enterobacter, Klebsiella, Serratia, and Proteus.

These are gram-negative bacteria which can be found in soil, water, dairy products, and in the gastrointestinal tracts of both animals and humans.

 Enterobacteriaceae come in a variety of sizes and are not spore forming, they are motile (with peritrichous flagella) or nonmotile, grow aerobically and anaerobically, are active biochemically, ferment (versus oxidize) D-glucose and other sugars, often with gas production, reduce nitrate to nitrite, contain the enterobacter common antigen, and have a 39-59% guanine-plus-cytosine.

The genus Enterobacter is a nosocomial opportunistic pathogen that is being investigated as one of the major causes of extraintestinal infections, alongside E. coli.

Infections caused by E. aerogenes include respiratory, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract infections, particularly cystitis, as well as wound, bloodstream, and central nervous system infections.

Furthermore, the species most commonly associated with adult cases of meningitis are E. cloacae and E. aerogenes. Enterobacter strain colonies may be slightly mucoid.

Enterobacter aerogenes and Enterobacter cloacae are the most commonly isolated bacteria in clinical samples from infected hospitalized patients.

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The majority of infections are caused by the inadvertent transfer of bacteria during surgery or prolonged hospitalization in patients who use venous or urethral catheters.

In clinical microbiology laboratories, Enterobacteriaceae may account for 80% of clinically significant isolates of gram-negative bacilli and 50% of clinically significant bacteria.

Furthermore, they are responsible for nearly half of all septicemia cases and more than 70% of urinary and intestinal tract infections. Because of the severity of these infections, it is critical to target, isolate, identify, and test for susceptibility to the causes of these nosocomial infections.

What is Enterobacter aerogenes?

Aerobacter aerogenes was renamed Enterobacter aerogenes after being included in the genus Enterobacter in 1960. Because of its peritrichous flagella motility and genetic similarity to the Klebsiella genus, this species was proposed to be renamed Klebsiella mobilis in 1971.

Enterobacter is a genus of Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming bacteria in the Enterobacteriaceae family.

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The most common bacterial isolates recovered from clinical specimens are Enterobacteriaceae. These bacteria have an outer membrane that contains lipopolysaccharides, one of which, lipid-A, is important in sepsis.

Endotoxin, also known as lipid-A, is the primary inducer of the release of cytokines, which are the mediators of systemic inflammation and its complications. Enterobacter aerogenes and Enterobacter cloacae, two well-known Enterobacter species, have gained clinical significance as opportunistic bacteria and emerged as hospital acquired (nosocomial) pathogens from intensive care patients, particularly those on mechanical ventilation.

How does Enterobacter aerogenes infections spread?

Cross-contamination from surgery or consistent treatment in hospitals for patients who use catheters is a common way for Enterobacter aerogenes to spread.

Diseases/Infections caused by Enterobacter aerogenes 

Because of the ubiquitous nature of Enterobacter species, the source of infection can be endogenous (via colonization of the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or urinary tract) or exogenous.

Infections caused by Enterobacter aerogenes

Many nosocomial infections and, less frequently, community-acquired infections are caused by Enterobacter species.

Infections caused by Enterobacter include:

  1. Bacteremia
  2. Lower respiratory tract infections
  3. Skin and soft-tissue infections
  4. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  5. Endocarditis
  6. Intra-abdominal infections
  7. Septic Arthritis
  8. Osteomyelitis
  9. Central Nervous System (CNS) infections
  10. Ophthalmic infections. 
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Enterobacter infections can necessitate extended hospitalization, a plethora of imaging studies and laboratory tests, a variety of surgical and nonsurgical procedures, and powerful and costly antimicrobial agents.

How do you treat Enterobacter aerogenes infections?

Carbapenems have proven to be the most effective antibiotics for infections caused by ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

How can you prevent Enterobacter Aerogenes?

Because Enterobacter aerogenes is antibiotic resistant, most antibiotics are ineffective in treating infections.

Proactive prevention practices are the most effective way to combat these bacteria. Active adherence to standard hand-hygiene regimens, environmental decontamination procedures, controlled antibiotic use, and aseptic insertion of catheters and implanted devices can all help to reduce bacteria transmission.

Where are Enterobacter aerogenes found naturally?

Enterobacter aerogenes is a ubiquitous bacteria in the environment, found naturally in soil, fresh water, vegetables and human and animal faeces.