The genus Bordetella consists of 9 species of small gram-negative coccobacilli, of which 4 are known to cause disease in humans: Bordetella pertussis, Bordetella parapertussis, Bordetella holmesii, and Bordetella bronchiseptica. Bordetella bronchiseptica is a commensal and a cause of respiratory tract disease in many wild and domestic animals but has rarely been implicated as a cause of infection in humans.
PubMed search for Bordetella bronchiseptica in humans, in English literature.
We present a case of a 54-year-old man who underwent elective back surgery and developed complications leading to prolonged intubation. He began to have spiking fevers with profuse sputum production and had evidence of pneumonia on chest radiograph. He was started on broad-spectrum antibiotics, but continued having high fevers. His sputum revealed a gram-negative, nonenteric oxidase-positive organism, which was later identified as B. bronchiseptica, likely transmitted from his puppy, which had been diagnosed with kennel cough. Both the patient and his best friend received effective antibiotics with a full recovery.
Sixty-two human cases of B. bronchiseptica have been published in the English literature; 84% had pneumonia/bronchitis. The majority of the patients were immunocompromised, most commonly with HIV/AIDS, or had underlying lung disease, mainly cystic fibrosis. Sixty-five percent of the patients had known animal contact prior to becoming ill. The most common animal was a dog.