Helicobacter cellulitis: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Helicobacter cellulitis is an infection caused by helicobacter cinaedi, mostly in immunocompromised patients.


The natural hosts of helicobacter cinaedi are hamsters and macaques. Contacts with the infected hamsters and macaques may be the route of transmission.

Helicobacter cinaedi is a low pathogenic bacterium, mostly in patients with alcoholism, tumors, diabetes, primary immunodeficiency, x-linked agammaglobulinemia, hypogammaglobulinemia, or HIV infection. Patients are also with cellulitis, arthritis, pneumonia, and meningitis.

Signs and Symptoms

The main symptoms include fever, bacteremia, recurrent cellulitis, and arthritis. In general, these clinical manifestations are more common in HIV-infected patients or immunocompromised patients. Helicobacter cellulitis is mostly caused by exposure to untreated water or infected animals.

The skin lesions are characteristic reddish brown or copper red, multifocal, and recurrent, with mild skin temperature elevation and systemic infection symptoms such as leukocytosis and thrombocytopenia.

Ordinary Gram stain is not easy to color helicobacter cinaedi, and Giemsa stain, acridine orange staining, or dark field examination is usually used. Hydrogen-rich medium is selected.


In the case of fever and cellulitis in immunocompromised patients or in patients with thrombocytopenia, Helicobacter cellulitis should be considered.


Ciprofloxacin, penicillin, tetracycline, or aminoglycoside antibiotics are effective, and the course of treatment is 2 - 3 weeks.