Chromobacterium infection: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Chromobacterium infection is caused by chromobacterium and is characterized by fever, sepsis, skin lesions, and abdominal pain, with high mortality. Localized abscess is often present, and liver is the mostly common involved organ.


Chromobacterium is a Gram-negative bacillus which can produce different pigments in the nutrient gelatin medium, and is a saprophytic bacterium in water and soil in the tropical and subtropical areas. Chromobacterium violaceum is the most common pathogen in this genus and produces purple pigment.

The disease is mainly transmitted through contacts. Patients with chronic granulomatous disease may be particularly susceptible. The disease develops mainly in the hot seasons.

Signs and Symptoms

Chromobacterium can cause a variety of skin lesions in humans, from undulating abscesses and localized cellulitis to anthracoid carbuncles accompanied by lymphangitis and swollen lymph nodes. In severe cases, fatal sepsis, pyemia, and pyogenic liver abscess can occur, and death is common. In mild patients, pinhead sized to pea sized ulcers occur in the skin, with surfaces covered by black crusts, with centers consisting of a large amount of purplish black powdery substances, with narrow red halos around the ulcers. Numerous skin lesions occur mainly in the trunk. Generally, subjective symptoms are absent. Many members in a family may develop the disease.


Diagnosis is mainly based on the results of bacterial culture.


Systemic aminoglycosides are appropriate. Incision and drainage may be required in patients with abscesses. Ciprofloxacin can be used in cellulitis treatment.