Infectious agent could be Photorhabdus asymbiotica?

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    • #1648

      I have been working for several years on an insect pathogenic bacterium called Photorhabdus. It is carried in the guts of parasitic nematode worms (Heterorhabditis) that burrow into insect and release the bacteria (related to E.coli) into the blood. The bacteria kill the insects, the nematodes eat the bacteria, replicate and then re-incorporate the bacteria before moving out of the dead insect looking for more prey.

      I am interested in variant forms that infect humans. The infections occur in geographic clusters (USA and OZ), at specific times of the year and cause disease symptoms not unlike the Rot. A variant form of the nematode burrows into human skin and releases the mammalian adapted Photorhabdus bacteria – called P. asymbiotica). Infection starts as a local skin lesion on the extremities (hand / foot) before spreading in the blood and causing all sorts of different outcomes. Its pretty nasty in people but can be controlled by antibiotics.

      It is often mis-diagnosed as the bacterial profile is not in the hospital diagnostic machines (it needs a well trained microbiologist to ID it). What I have seen about this Rot sounds VERY similar. If not a strain of Photorhabdus it could also be something similar (including E.coli) as I have also done studies that found a range of different bacterial pathogens can be carried into insects (and also presumably people) by these sorts of parasitic nematodes (this gives rise to local clusters also).

      If interested contact me

      Dr. Nick R. Waterfield.

      Associate Professor in Molecular Microbiology.
      Division of Biomedical Sciences.
      Microbiology and Infection unit.
      Room A145
      Warwick University Medical School.
      Coventry. CV4 7AL. United Kingdom.

      Mobile. +44 (0)7969300425
      Work. +44 (0)2476522459
      Twitter: @Nick_Waterfield
      Alternative email:
      Google scholar:
      Department web page:

    • #1679
      Chris Street

      Dear Dr Waterfield,
      Many thanks for posting info about the insect pathogenic bacterium Photorhabdus asymbiotica. Infection in humans in local geographic clusters occurring at specific times of the year, causing disease symptoms such as skin lesions on the hand or foot, then spreading throughout the body – does sound very similar to Alabama Rot in dogs.

      I will contact you to discuss further.

      Chris Street BSc MSc founder

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