Proteus mirabilis on blood agar. Characteristic swarming motility. Cultivation 24 hours in an aerobic
This rod shaped bacterium has the ability to produce high levels of urease. Urease hydrolyzes urea to ammonia (NH3) and thus makes the urine more alkaline. If left untreated, the increased alkalinity can lead to the formation of crystals of struvite, calcium carbonate, and/or apatite. The bacteria can be found throughout the stones, and these bacteria lurking in the stones can reinitiate infection after antibiotic treatment. Once the stones develop, over time they may grow large enough to cause obstruction and renal failure. Proteus can also cause wound infections, septicemia and pneumonias, mostly in hospitalized patients.