What is Corynebacterium Xerosis?

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  • Written By: J.M. Willhite
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2018
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Corynebacterium xerosis is a type of bacteria commonly found on the skin. It rarely causes infection, but can, in some cases, cause endocarditis, skin infections, and other illnesses. This bacteria is Gram-positive and fermentative.

Like other bacteria in the Corynebacterium genus, C. xerosis is recognized by its rod-like shape. This particular species is in the shape of a slightly curved rod, and it does not usually form clubs, which are end swellings. It is a fermentative bacteria, and metabolizes both glucose and sucrose. The bacteria is also non-lipophilic, which means that it does not reproduce quickly in fats the way some other bacteria do.

There are a number of different bacteria in the Corynebacterium genus, the most well known of which may be C. diptheriae, which causes diptheria. This is an aggressive bacterial infection that may compromise organ function if left untreated. Many of the other species in the genus are less dangerous; although it can cause a number of illnesses, C. xerosis is not a serious concern for most people.

This bacteria is sometimes referred to as a "diptheroid" species because it is in the same genus as the bacteria that causes diptheria. The terminology may cause confusion for some people, who confuse the generic term with the disease. C. xerosis is a different bacteria and does not cause the same illnesses.


People who have a compromised immune system are susceptible to illnesses caused by Corynebacterium xerosis, however. Some cases of endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart, caused by it have been reported. It has also been linked to skin infections and bacterial infection of the blood, also called bacteremia. The bacteria can also infect the throat and lungs, causing pneumonia in some patients.

Infections caused by C. xerosis are sometimes missed because this bacteria is so common on the skin. In some cases, it has been assumed that a sample was contaminated, rather than that the bacteria was the cause of the illness. Unfortunately, this can cause an infection to not be treated as quickly or effectively as it could have been. In most cases, an infection can be treated with penicillin or erythromycin.


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