The recognition of the role of Kingella kingae as one of the main etiologic agents of skeletal system infections in young children and the recent discovery of the novel Kingella negevensis species have resulted in an increasing interest in these two emerging pediatric pathogens. Both bacteria colonize the oropharynx and are not detected in nasopharyngeal specimens, and the colonized mucosal surface is their portal of entry to the bloodstream. Although species-specific nucleic acid amplification assays have significantly improved the detection of kingellae and facilitated patients' management, the increasing use of this diagnostic approach has the potential drawback of neglecting culture recovery of these organisms. The isolation of Kingella species enables the thorough genotyping of strains for epidemiological purposes, the study of the dynamics of asymptomatic colonization and person-toperson transmission, the investigation of the pathogenesis of invasive infections, and the determination of antibiotic susceptibility patterns. The culture isolation of pharyngeal strains and their comparison with isolates derived from normally sterile body sites may also aid in identifying virulence factors involved in the transition from colonization to invasive disease which could represent potential targets for a future protective vaccine. The two species are notoriously fastidious, and their isolation from upper respiratory tract specimens requires a short transport time, plating on selective vancomycin-containing blood-agar medium, and incubation under capnophilic and aerobic conditions. The identification of K. kingae and K. negevensis can be performed by a combination of the typical Gram stain and biochemical tests and confirmed and differentiated by molecular assays that target the groEL and mdh genes.
- Kingella kingae
- Kingella negevensis