Proteus spp.

Proteus spp. is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria. They are peritrichous flagellated and thus highly motile. They belong to the Morganellaceae family. In medicine, they are classified as enterobacteria.

Proteus spp. often lead to nosocomial infections among immunocompromised patients who have undergone invasive procedures. They cause the following conditions, among others:

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Renal pelvic inflammation

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Respiratory infections

  • Wound infections

  • Sepsis

Proteus spp. are widespread in soil and water that contain dead biomass or excretions from living organisms. The bacteria can also be found in the digestive tract of animals and humans, as well as in fecal matter.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Low

  • Pulmonology: High

  • Ear, nose, and throat: Not relevant

  • Urology: High

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • High concern organism

Transmission route

Proteus spp. are transmitted as a contact infection, nosocomially, and via contaminated food.

Resistance to antibiotics

Bacteria of the genus Proteus spp. show increasing resistance and even multi-resistance (including extended spectrum beta-lactamase [ESBL] resistance) to beta-lactams, macrolides, and polymyxins, among other antibiotics.

Sources and further readings

  1. Cêtre J-C, Nicolle MC, Salord H, Pérol M, Tigaud S, David G, Bourjault M, Vanhems P. 2005. Outbreaks of contaminated broncho-alveolar lavage related to intrinsically defective bronchoscopes. J. Hosp. Infect. 61:39–45.

  2. Gries O, Ly T: Infektologie – Kompendium humanpathogener Infektionskrankheiten und Erreger, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2019.

  3. Hygienemaßnahmen bei Infektionen oder Besiedlung mit multiresistenten gramnegativen Stäbchen, Empfehlung der Kommission für Krankenhaushygiene und Infektionsprävention (KRINKO) beim Robert Koch-Institut, Bundesgesundheitsbl 2012, 55:1311– 1354.

  4. Multiresistente gramnegative Erreger, Robert Koch-Institut, Accessed on 07.07.2021.