Anaerobes in biofilm-based healthcare-associated infections

Claudia Vuotto, Gianfranco Donelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anaerobic bacteria can cause an infection when they encounter a permissive environment within the host. These opportunistic pathogens are seldom recovered as single isolates but more frequently are involved in polymicrobial infections, together with other anaerobes or aerobes. Nowadays it’s known that some anaerobic bacteria are also able to grow as biofi lm even if this feature and its role in the healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are still poorly characterized. As consequence, the involvement of biofi lmforming anaerobic bacteria in infections related to healthcare procedures, including surgery and medical devices implantation, is underestimated. The current knowledge on the role of biofi lm- growing anaerobes in HAIs has been here reviewed, with particular reference to respiratory, intestinal, intra-abdominal, wound, and urogenital tract infections. Even if the data are still scarce, the ability to form biofi lm of opportunistic anaerobic species and their possible role as causative agents of HAIs should alert even more clinicians and microbiologists on the need to search for anaerobes in clinical samples when their presence can be reasonably assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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