'Bacterium actinomycetem comitans' was described by Klinger (1912) as coccobacillary bacteria isolated together with Actinomyces from actinomycotic lesions of man. It was reclassified as Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans by Topley & Wilson (1929) and as Haemophilus actinomycetemcomitans by Potts et al. (1985). The species has attracted attention because of its association with localized aggressive periodontitis.
It is one of the bacteria that might be implicated in destructive periodontal disease. Although it has been found more frequently in localized aggressive periodontitis, prevalence in any population is rather high. It has also been isolated from actinomycotic lesions (mixed infection with certain Actinomyces species, in particular A. israelii). It possesses certain virulence factors that enable it to invade tissues, such as leukotoxin. It has also been isolated from women with bacterial vaginosis.