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Fusobacterium nucleatum causing a pyogenic liver abscess: a rare complication of periodontal disease that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic
  1. Laurence Collins1 and
  2. Tom Diamond2
  1. 1Hepatobiliary Surgery, Mater Infirmorum Hospital, Belfast, UK
  2. 2Hepatobiliary Surgery, Mater Hospital, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Laurence Collins; collins.laurence{at}


Fusobacterium nucleatum is a periodontal commensal and pathogen. In rare cases, these anaerobic gram-negative bacilli have been reported to cause pyogenic liver abscesses (PLAs). We describe a patient who developed a periodontal abscess during the COVID-19 pandemic and was unable to access the restricted General Dental Services at this time. She subsequently developed a F. nucleatum bacteraemia and liver abscess. The non-specific signs and symptoms experienced meant the patient self-isolated due to suspected COVID-19 infection and presentation to hospital was delayed. We also include the results of a literature search of other cases of PLAs attributed to F. nucleatum. PLAs often develop insidiously. They require percutaneous drainage and prolonged antimicrobial therapy. Clinicians should be aware of this rare complication of a dentoalveolar infection in a patient who is systemically unwell.

  • dentistry and oral medicine
  • infections
  • general surgery
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery

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  • Contributors LC wrote the text. The report was reviewed and edited by TD.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.