Three hundred expectorated sputa from patients suffering from chest disorders were examined microscopically and cultured on various media. Among other micro-organisms isolated there were four strains of Rhodococcus aurantiacus (Gordona aurantiaca), one each of Rh. erythropolis, Rh. pellegrino, Rh. rubropertinctus and Rh. rhodnii. Suspensions in 5% hog gastric mucin were virulent for immuno-suppressed white mice and the pathology of their lungs was compatible with those produced in experimental nocardial and rhodococcus infections. The in-vitro antibiogram was similar to that of Nocardia asteroides. Two of the patients from whom Rh. aurantiacus and Rh. pellegrino were isolated responded bacteriologically and clinically to treatment with co-trimoxazole. The frequency with which these rhodococci were isolated and the clinical conditions of the patients strongly indicated a pathogenic role for some Rhodococcus species. It is suggested that rhodococci should be sought in chronic pulmonary infections, particularly in those who are immuno-compromised or debilitated, and their aetiologic role determined.
The Journal of applied bacteriology 07/1989; 66(6):497-506. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2672.1989.tb04570.x