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Clostridium septicum


Clostridium septicum is a large, motile, Gram-positive, anaerobic bacillus found in the normal gut flora of humans and other animals. Clostridium septicum is a motile, spore-forming pathogen commonly isolated from the intestinal flora of humans


Clostridium septicum is more virulent than Clostridium perfringens and can cause nontraumatic, spontaneous gas gangrene, typically in patients with underlying diseases. Clostridium septicum is able to invade and infect otherwise healthy tissues. Current strategies for managing Clostridium septicum infections include surgical debridement, intensive care support, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, and amputation of the infected limbs in severe circumstances. Antimicrobial guidelines provided by the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) suggest high dose IV penicillin in combination with intravenous clindamycin for treating Clostridium septicum and other clostridium-related gas gangrene infections.

Clostridium septicum is associated with colorectal cancer. Colorectal tumors produce an acidic microenvironment through tumor anaerobic metabolism, and it is thought that Clostridium septicum can survive due to its anaerobic and spore-forming properties. Perforation of the gastrointestinal or colorectal epithelium allows Clostridium septicum spores to enter the blood which it can cause bacteremia and life-threatening sepsis. Clostridium septicum produces several exotoxins, including alpha-toxin, which is thought to be an essential virulence factor. However, the exact pathophysiology of Clostridium septicum infection is still unknown.


Aldape, M. J., Bayer, C. R., Rice, S. N., Bryant, A. E., & Stevens, D. L. (2018). Comparative efficacy of antibiotics in treating experimental Clostridium septicum infection. International journal of antimicrobial agents, 52(4), 469-473.

Chirikian, D., Awsare, S., Fitzgibbon, J., & Lee, L. (2021). Concurrent Clostridium septicum bacteremia and colorectal adenocarcinoma with metastasis to the brain – A Case Report. IDCases, 25, e01189-e01189.

Yoo, J. H. (2018). Review of Disinfection and Sterilization – Back to the Basics. Infection & chemotherapy, 50(2), 101-109.


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