Proteus species

Proteus species is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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  • Aerobic, Gram-negative, urease-splitting rod. It is a non-lactose fermenter, indole-negative, oxidase-negative but catalase- and nitrate-positive.
    • "Swarms" on moist agar (many flagella per organism, see video as an example).
    • The second most commonly isolated Enterobacteriaceae after E. coli in many series.
  • Most common species: P. mirabilis (indole negative) causes 90% of infections.
    • Other Proteus spp. are indole positive, e.g., P. vulgaris and P. penneri.
    • Proteus rettgari now a member of Providencia spp., properly Providencia rettgari, often a highly resistant organism.
  • It can raise urine pH due to urea-splitting activity.
  • P. mirabilis is usually resistant to tetracycline and nitrofurantoin, while 10-20% are resistant to ampicillin or cephalexin. P. vulgaris usually resistant to ampicillin or cephalexin/cefazolin.

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Last updated: December 9, 2019