Difference between Actinomycosis and Actinobacillosis


Actinomycosis is associated with a ‘big jaw’ or ‘lumpy jaw’. It involves the formation of lesions in the bones of the adult cattle head. In humans, it can occur in the mouth, digestive as well as genital tracts. But actinomycosis is rarely seen in humans.

Actinomycosis affecting the soft tissues is a rare phenomenon. Also, the majority of actinomycosis is caused by Actinomyces bovis (cattle) and Actinomyces israelii (humans). It usually creates painful pus in the mouth and lungs. The pus might also penetrate the bones and muscles in severe cases.


Actinobacillosis is a large swelling in the head or neck region of cattle. It is usually characterised by the swelling of the tongue (wooden tongue). The most common causative species is the Actinobacillus lignieresii. They invade the soft tissues of the mouth, lymph nodes and lungs. Sometimes they also reach the oral, gastrointestinal and reproductive tract.

Difference between Actinomycosis and Actinobacillosis



It is caused by gram-positive bacteria. It is caused by gram-negative bacilli.
The Actinomyces species are responsible for this. The Actinobacillus species are responsible for this.
It usually occurs in the mandible and maxilla or the jaws. It is found in soft tissues, such as the tongue, lymph nodes, and lungs.
It is also called the ‘big jaw’ or ‘lumpy jaw’ disease. It is usually referred to as a ‘wooden tongue’ disease.

Also Read: Difference between Gram-positive and Gram-negative Bacteria.

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Actinomycosis and Actinobacillosis


How to treat Actinobacillosis?

Usually, sodium iodide is intravenously administered to infected cattle. Sometimes antibiotics are also used. In life-threatening cases, the infected tissue is surgically removed.


Is Actinomycosis a fungal disease?

No, Actinomycosis is a bacterial infection. In earlier days, it was thought to be a fungal disease. Later, it was proved to be caused by gram-positive bacteria belonging to Actinomyces species. Also, Streptomyces and Propionibacterium are involved in this infection. This actinomycosis infection is a polymicrobial anaerobic disease.


How is Actinomycosis treated?

Actinomycosis is usually treated with Penicillin. Sometimes doxycycline and sulfonamides are also used in the treatment regimen.

Extended Reading: Microorganisms: Friend and Foe.

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