When isolated from the female genital tract, diphtheroids are usually regarded as commensal organisms. Corynebacterium kutscheri however is a pathogen in laboratory rodents. We report a case in which C. kutscheri was isolated as a pure culture from the umbilical cord and from other surface sites in an infant. Histological examination of the cord and membranes demonstrated the organisms within these fetal tissues. The organisms evoked a fetal cellular response. The importance of recognising commensals as potential pathogens in states of altered host resistance in stressed.
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