Christensenella hongkongensis

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Christensenella hongkongensis
Scientific classification
C. hongkongensis
Binomial name
Christensenella hongkongensis[1]
(Lau et al. 2014) Liu et al. 2021
  • "Catabacter hongkongensis" Lau et al. 2007
  • Catabacter hongkongensis Lau et al. 2014

Christensenella hongkongensis is a species of clinically relevant gram-positive coccobacilli, first isolated from patients in Hong Kong and Canada in 2006.[2] Although the species remains relatively rare, it has a high mortality rate of up to 50%.[3] Christensenella is thought to be broadly distributed globally, as it has been isolated from patient blood cultures around the world including Hong Kong, South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, France and Italy. Fewer than 15 cases of C. hongkongensis have been observed worldwide.[4]

Phenotypic characteristics

C. hongkongensis grow on sheep blood agar as nonhemolytic pinpoint colonies after 48 h of incubation at 37 °C in an anaerobic environment. All are catalase positive and motile, with flagella. They produce acid from arabinose, glucose and xylose. They do not produce indole or reduce nitrate.[2]


a,b)Macroscopic and microscopic appearance of the isolate-Catabacter hongkongensis

Symptoms of C. hongkongensis infection include fever, vomiting, abdominal distension and constipation. The bacteria have been present in cases of bacteraemia.[2][5]

To accurately identify C. hongkongensis, 16S rRNA sequencing is recommended.[2]

Other identification methods such as MALDI-TOF, have not been able to identify the bacteria correctly.[6]


Antibiotic treatment is usually administered upon C. hongkongensis infection. C. hongkongensis has been shown to be susceptible to antibiotics including kanamycin, vancomycin, cefuroxime, ciprofloxacin and metronidazole.[2][3] In one case, the patient recovered without any antibiotic treatment.[6]


  1. Liu X, Sutter JL, de la Cuesta-Zuluaga J, Waters JL, Youngblut ND, Ley RE. (2021). "Reclassification of Catabacter hongkongensis as Christensenella hongkongensis comb. nov. based on whole genome analysis". Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 71 (4): 4774. doi:10.1099/ijsem.0.004774. PMC 8289216. PMID 33881979.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Lau, S. K. P.; McNabb, A.; Woo, G. K. S.; Hoang, L.; Fung, A. M. Y.; Chung, L. M. W.; Woo, P. C. Y.; Yuen, K.-Y. (2006-11-22). "Catabacter hongkongensis gen. nov., sp. nov., Isolated from Blood Cultures of Patients from Hong Kong and Canada". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 45 (2): 395–401. doi:10.1128/jcm.01831-06. ISSN 0095-1137. PMC 1829005. PMID 17122022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lau, Susanna K. P.; Fan, Rachel Y. Y.; Lo, Hoo-Wing; Ng, Ricky H. Y.; Wong, Samson S. Y.; Li, Iris W. S.; Wu, Alan K. L.; Ng, Kenneth H. L.; Tseung, Steven; Lee, Rodney A.; Fung, Kitty S. C. (2012-07-01). "High Mortality Associated with Catabacter hongkongensis Bacteremia". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 50 (7): 2239–2243. doi:10.1128/JCM.00128-12. ISSN 0095-1137. PMC 3405600. PMID 22518872.
  4. Choi, Yong Jun; M.D; Won, Eun Jeong; M.D; Kim, Soo Hyun; M.D; Shin, Myung Geun; M.D; Shin, Jong Hee; M.D; Suh, and Soon Pal (2017-01-01). "First Case Report of Bacteremia Due to Catabacter hongkongensis in a Korean Patient". Annals of Laboratory Medicine. 37 (1): 84–87. doi:10.3343/alm.2017.37.1.84. PMC 5107626. PMID 27834074.
  5. Elsendoorn, Antoine (July 2011). "Catabacter hongkongensis Bacteremia with Fatal Septic Shock". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 17 (7): 1330–1331. doi:10.3201/eid1707.101773. ISSN 1080-6040. PMC 3381405. PMID 21762611.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kaden, R.; Thelander, M.; Engstrand, L.; Herrmann, B. (2017-01-01). "First case of human bacteraemia by Catabacter hongkongensis in Scandinavia". New Microbes and New Infections. 15: 6–8. doi:10.1016/j.nmni.2016.09.015. ISSN 2052-2975. PMC 5094672. PMID 27830080.