Capnocytophaga gingivalis Bacteremia After Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding in Immunocompromised Patient

Folake J. Lawal, Stephanie L. Baer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Odontogenic bacteremia, most commonly involving gram-positive oral flora, can result from daily self-care practices or professional dental procedures. Though usually transient and quickly cleared by the immune system, the presence of periodontal disease increases the frequency of exposure and risk of persistence of oral-systemic infections. Comorbidities such as asplenia, alcoholism, and immunocompromise increase the risk of complications of hematogenous spread and severe systemic illness. Capnocytophaga is a genus of anaerobic fastidious gram-negative bacilli, which is a common member of human oral flora, and its density is proportional to mass of dental plaques and periodontal diseases. Capnocytophaga spp that colonize humans are less virulent and are uncommon causes of bacteremia when compared with the Capnocytophaga typical of canines. C gingivalis has been rarely reported as a cause of disease in immunocompromised or immunocompetent hosts. In this article, we present a case of an immunocompromised 70-year-old man with poor oral hygiene, on methotrexate and prednisone for rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis, who was admitted for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation and developed C gingivalis bacteremia and septic shock after an episode of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Poor oral hygiene in our patient is believed to have increased his risk as an immunocompromised patient to developing C gingivalis bacteremia. This case highlights the importance of oral care in immunocompromised patients especially while hospitalized, and those about to receive transplant, chemotherapy, or on immune modulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine High Impact Case Reports
StatePublished - 2021


  • Capnocytophaga gingivalis
  • gastrointestinal bleeding
  • immunocompromised
  • oral flora
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research


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