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Chapter 4.13 : Anaerobic Cocci
The anaerobic Gram-positive 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 ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ). 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, involving aerobes and anaerobes ( 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ). Anaerobic Gram-negative cocci are part of the normal microbiota in the mouth, throughout the gastrointestinal tract, in the genitourinary tract, and in the respiratory tract. They are frequently encountered in the clinical laboratory from clinical specimens, but almost always in mixed cultures with other anaerobes and aerobes, and are not often implicated as the sole cause of many infections ( 4 ).