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Chapter 4.12 : Anaerobic Cocci
The anaerobic cocci are a prominent part of the normal human microbiota of the skin, gastrointestinal tract, oral cavity, upper respiratory tract, and female genital tract. Anaerobic gram-positive cocci can be important human pathogens, and next to the anaerobic gram-negative bacilli, these anaerobes are the most commonly isolated anaerobes in clinically relevant infections ( 3 – 5 , 9 ). In four surveys of human anaerobic pathogens in various clinical specimens, anaerobic cocci constituted 24 to 31% of all isolates ( 3 , 9 ). The types of infections in which anaerobic gram-positive cocci predominate include infections in patients with a variety of head and neck infections, including periodontitis, chronic otitis media, chronic sinusitis, and brain abscesses; infectious processes in the female genital tract, including tubo-ovarian abscesses; and infections of the abdominal cavity, including peritonitis and perforated appendices. Many of these infections are polymicrobic, including other aerobes and anaerobes ( 3 – 5 , 9 ). Anaerobic gram-negative cocci, although not infrequently encountered in the clinical laboratory from clinical specimens, are not often associated with a great number of infections ( 4 , 5 ).