Pathogen Safety Data Sheets: Infectious Substances – Peptostreptococcus spp.



NAME: Peptostreptococcus spp. (and pathogens formerly designated as Peptostreptococcus, including species now in genera Anaerococcus, Atopobium, Blautia, Finegoldia, Peptoniphilus and Parvimonas, collectively referred to as the peptostreptococci below).

SYNONYM OR CROSS REFERENCE: Peptostreptococcus anaerobius, Finegoldia magnus, Parvimonas micros, Atopobium parvulum, Blautia producta .

CHARACTERISTICS: Peptostreptococci are anaerobic, non-sporing, gram-positive cocci that are 0.3-1.8 μm in diameter, depending on the species(Footnote 1-Footnote 3). They are usually arranged in chains, pairs, tetrads, or clumps(Footnote 1,Footnote 3).


PATHOGENICITY/TOXICITY: Peptostreptococci are part of the normal microbial flora of the mouth, upper respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, female genitourinary system, and skin(Footnote 1-Footnote 5). This type of bacteria causes a wide variety of infections, including oropharyngeal, sinus, ear, musculoskeletal, intraabdominal, genitourinary tract, dental, peritonsillar, superficial, and soft tissue infections(Footnote 1,Footnote 3,Footnote 5,Footnote 6). P. anaerobius has been associated with infections of the brain, ear, jaw, pleural cavity, pelvic, urogenital regions, external genitalia, abdominal region, nasal septum, and gastrointestinal abscesses, as well as endocarditis, gingivitis and periodontitis(Footnote 1,Footnote 3,Footnote 4). Parvimonas micros is usually involved with mixed anaerobic infections, periodontal destruction, endodontic lesions, peritonsillar infections, brain abscess, otitis media, sinusitis, bite wounds pleural empyema, intraabdominal infection, anorectal abscess, septicaemia, gynaecologic infection, vertebral osteomyelitis, and prosthetic joint infection(Footnote 3,Footnote 5). The genus can also cause endocarditis (rarely), CNS infection, and puerperal fever(Footnote 2,Footnote 5). Anaerobes are reported to cause 8-11% cases of bacteremia in adults and the peptostreptococci account for 25-30% of all anaerobic isolates(Footnote 2, Footnote 6).

EPIDEMIOLOGY: Worldwide, it is part of the normal human microbial flora(Footnote 1,Footnote 3-Footnote 5).

HOST RANGE: Peptostreptococci have been isolated from humans as well as from rat, mouse, cat, dog, monkey, and rabbit feces(7).


MODE OF TRANSMISSION: Infection is usually associated with trauma or disease(Footnote 1).


COMMUNICABILITY: Human-to-human transmission can occur through bite wounds(Footnote 8).


RESERVOIR: Humans and animals(Footnote 1,Footnote 7).

ZOONOSIS: Transmission of the bacterium to humans via dog and cat bites has been reported(Footnote 9).



DRUG SUSCEPTIBILITY: Susceptible to penicillin, cephalosporins, carbapenems, trovafloxacin, clinafloxacin, and metronidazole (some resistance has been reported)(Footnote 3,Footnote 5). Response to other antibiotics depends on the species(Footnote 3).

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO DISINFECTANTS: Susceptible to 2-5% phenol, 1% sodium hypochlorite, 4% formaldehyde, 2% glutaraldehyde, 70% ethanol, 70% propanol, 2% peracetic acid, 3-6% hydrogen peroxide and iodine(Footnote 10).

PHYSICAL INACTIVATION: Bacteria are susceptible to moist heat (121 °C for at least 15 minutes) and dry heat (160-170 °C for at least 1 hour)(Footnote 11).

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: May survive in the environment.


SURVEILLANCE: Monitor for symptoms and confirm by bacterial culture(Footnote 12). Aspirates or tissues are the best specimens for culture(Footnote 5).

Note: All diagnostic methods are not necessarily available in all countries.

FIRST AID/TREATMENT: Appropriate antibiotic therapy is the treatment of choice(Footnote 5). In cases with abscesses, drainage combined with chemotherapy may be necessary(Footnote 1).


PROPHYLAXIS: Penicillin or metronidazole prophylaxis after a dental or oral surgery may reduce the risk of bacteraemia(Footnote 12).


LABORATORY-ACQUIRED INFECTIONS: No cases of laboratory-acquired infections by the peptostreptococci. have been reported.

SOURCES/SPECIMENS: Peptostreptococci can be isolated from urine, blood, pus, feces, aspirates, and vaginal secretions(Footnote 2,Footnote 5,Footnote 6,Footnote 13-Footnote 15).

PRIMARY HAZARDS: Primary hazards are mucocutaneous contact with the infective agent, accidental parenteral inoculation, and aerosol exposure(Footnote 1,Footnote 6).



RISK GROUP CLASSIFICATION: Risk group 2(Footnote 16) . This risk group classification applies to these genera as a whole, and may not reflect the risk group classification of each of individual species within the genus.

CONTAINMENT REQUIREMENTS: Containment Level 2 facilities, equipment, and operational practices for work involving infected or potentially infected materials, animals, or cultures. These containment requirements apply to the genus as a whole, and may not apply to each species within the genus.

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Lab coat. Gloves when direct skin contact with infected materials or animals is unavoidable. Eye protection must be used where there is a known or potential risk of exposure to splashes(Footnote 17).

OTHER PRECAUTIONS: All procedures that may produce aerosols, or involve high concentrations or large volumes should be conducted in a biological safety cabinet (BSC). The use of needles, syringes, and other sharp objects should be strictly limited. Additional precautions should be considered with work involving animals or large scale activities(Footnote 17).


SPILLS: Allow aerosols to settle, then, wearing protective clothing, gently cover the spill with absorbent paper towel and apply appropriate disinfectant starting at the perimeter and working towards the center. Allow sufficient contact time before starting the clean up.

DISPOSAL: All wastes should be decontaminated before disposal either by steam sterilization, incineration or chemical disinfection.

STORAGE: The infectious agent should be stored in a sealed and identified container.


REGULATORY INFORMATION: The import, transport, and use of pathogens in Canada is regulated under many regulatory bodies, including the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Environment Canada, and Transport Canada. Users are responsible for ensuring they are compliant with all relevant acts, regulations, guidelines, and standards.

UPDATED: November 2010 PREPARED BY: Pathogen Regulation Directorate, Public Health Agency of Canada.

Although the information, opinions and recommendations contained in this Pathogen Safety Data Sheet are compiled from sources believed to be reliable, we accept no responsibility for the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability or for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information. Newly discovered hazards are frequent and this information may not be completely up to date.

Copyright ©
Public Health Agency of Canada, 2010


  1. Ryan, K. J., & Ray, C. G. (Eds.). (2004.). Sherris Medical Microbiology: An Introduction to Infectious Disease. (Fourth Edition. ed.). New York.: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Murdoch, D. A. (1998). Gram-Positive Anaerobic Cocci. In A. Balows, & B. I. Duerden (Eds.), Microbiology and Microbial Infections (pp. 783). London: Arnold.
  3. Murray, P. R., Baron, E. J., Jorgensen, J. H., Landry, M. L., & Pfaller, M. A. (Eds.). (2007). Manual of Clinical Microbiology (9th ed.). Washington: ASM Press.
  4. Fleming D & Hunt D (Ed.). (2006). Biological Safety Principles and Practices (4th ed.). Washington: ASM Press.
  5. Murdoch, D. A. (1998). Gram-positive anaerobic cocci. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 11 (1),81-120.
  6. Brook, I. (2002). Clinical review: bacteremia caused by anaerobic bacteria in children. Critical Care (London, England), 6 (3), 205-211.
  7. Wang, R. F., Cao, W. W., & Cerniglia, C. E. (1996). PCR detection and quantitation of predominant anaerobic bacteria in human and animal fecal samples. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 62 (4), 1242-1247.
  8. Griego, R. D., Rosen, T., Orengo, I. F., & Wolf, J. E. (1995). Dog, cat, and human bites: a review. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 33 (6), 1019-1029.
  9. Smith, P. F., Meadowcroft, A. M., & May, D. B. (2000). Treating mammalian bite wounds. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 25 (2), 85-99.
  10. Collins, C. H., & Kennedy, D. A. (1999). Laboratory acquired infections. Laboratory acquired infections: History, incidence, causes and prevention (4th ed., pp. 1-37). Woburn, MA: BH.
  11. Joslyn, L. J. (2001). Sterilization by Heat. In S. S. Block (Ed.), Disinfection, Sterilization, and Preservation (5th ed., pp. 695). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  12. Brook, I. (2002). Clinical review: bacteremia caused by anaerobic bacteria in children. Critical Care (London, England), 6 (3), 205-211.
  13. Ezaki, T., Liu, S. L., Hashimoto, Y., & Yabuuchi, E. (1990). Peptostreptococcus hydrogenalis sp. nov. from human fecal and vaginal flora. International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 40 (3), 305-306.
  14. Kuriyama, T., Karasawa, T., Nakagawa, K., Yamamoto, E., & Nakamura, S. (2002). Bacteriology and antimicrobial susceptibility of gram-positive cocci isolated from pus specimens of orofacial odontogenic infections. Oral Microbiology and Immunology, 17 (2), 132-135.
  15. Headington, J. T., & Beyerlein, B. (1966). Anaerobic bacteria in routine urine culture. Journal of Clinical Pathology, 19 (6), 573-576.
  16. Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. S.C. 2009, c. 24. Government of Canada, Second Session, Fortieth Parliament, 57-58 Elizabeth II, 2009, (2009).
  17. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2004). In Best M., Graham M. L., Leitner R., Ouellette M. and Ugwu K. (Eds.), Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines (3rd ed.). Canada: Public Health Agency of Canada.

Page details

Date modified: