Massilia spp.

Massilia spp. are aerobic, non-fermenting, Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria belonging to the Oxalobacteraceae family [1]. The genus comprises over 20 species [2].

Massilia timonae, which was isolated for the first time in 1998 from the blood of an immunocompromised patient, is the most clinically relevant [2]. In 2008, the species M. varians was found in a clinical isolate and, in 2012, the species M. oculi was also classified as pathogenic to humans [2][3].

Few infections with Massilia bacteria have been described in the literature. Most infections are caused by Massilia timonae and occur as co-infections or in immunosuppressed patients. Rare cases of patients without underlying conditions have also been documented. The few such cases described reveal a wide range of diseases [4][5][6].

  • Sepsis

  • Otitis media

  • Bone marrow inflammation

  • Infection of the inside of the eye

Massilia spp. are environmental bacteria that are primarily found in the ground, in water, in the air, and in plants. Some species were also isolated from human samples (blood, cerebrospinal fluid) [3][7].

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Low

  • Pulmonology: Low

  • Ear, nose, and throat: Low

  • Urology: Low

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • High concern organism

Transmission route

Transmission can occur via direct or indirect contact [2]. Massilia spp. were also found during hygienic-microbiological inspections of duodenoscopes [8].

Resistance to antibiotics

In studies on isolates from soil in the surroundings of poultry and cattle farms, Massilia spp. was identified as being a carrier of resistance genes to sulfonamides [9].

Sources and further readings

  1. Reimer CL et al. BacDive in 2022: the knowledge base for standardized bacterial and archaeal data. Nucleic Acids Research; database issue 2022. (accessed on 03.27.2023).

  2. Cho J. Massilia varians Isolated from a Clinical Specimen Jooyoung. Infect Chemother. 2017, 49 (3):219-222.

  3. Lindquist D et al. Characteristics of Massilia timonae and Massilia timonae-Like Isolates from Human Patients, with an Emended Description of the Species. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2003, 41 (1): 192–196.

  4. Kämpfer P, Lodders N, Martin K, Falsen E. Massilia oculi sp. nov., isolated from a human clinical specimen. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2012, 62 (2):364-369.

  5. Van Craenenbroeck AH, Camps K, Zachée P, Wu KL. Massilia timonae infection presenting as generalized lymphadenopathy in a man returning to Belgium from Nigeria. J Clin Microbiol. 2011, 49 (7):2763-5.

  6. Park MK, Shin HB. Massilia sp. isolated from otitis media. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013, 77 (2):303-5.

  7. Ofek M, Hadar Y, Minz D. Ecology of root colonizing Massilia (Oxalobacteraceae). PLoS One. 2012, 7 (7): e40117.

  8. Naoaki O et al.: A prospective, multicenter, clinical study of duodenoscope contamination after reprocessing. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022 Dec; 43 (12): 1901–1909.

  9. Wang N et al. Sulfonamide-resistant bacteria and their resistance genes in soils fertilized with manures from Jiangsu Province, Southeastern China. PLoS One. 2014, 18 (9): e112626.