Moraxella Catarrhalis - History

History

M. catarrhalis was previously placed in a separate genus named Branhamella. The rationale for this was that other members of the genus Moraxella are rod-shaped and rarely caused infections in humans. However results from DNA hybridization studies and 16S rRNA sequence comparisons were used to justify inclusion of the species catarrhalis in the genus Moraxella. As a consequence, the name Moraxella catarrhalis is currently preferred for these bacteria. Nevertheless, some in the medical field continue to call these bacteria Branhamella catarrhalis.

Moraxella is named after Victor Morax, a Swiss ophthalmologist who first described this genus of bacteria. Catarrhalis is derived from catarrh, from the Greek meaning to flow down, describing the profuse discharge from eyes and nose typically associated with severe inflammation in colds.

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