We report a case of an invasive infection with non-sporulating Chrysosporium species in a patient who was treated with chemotherapy for relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This patient presented with a persistent lobar pneumonia, skin lesions, and possible involvement of the central nervous system. The patient responded to treatment with amphotericin B and oral itraconazole.
The acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) requires no further introduction. Since 1981, when the AIDS was first recognized in the United States, much interest, anxiety and fear have been generated among people all over the world. It has spread inexorably in the United States, Europe and Africa such that the World Health Organization has warned of the beginning of a worldwide epidemic of AIDS. Asia has been relatively spared; nonetheless cases have been reported from Thailand, India, Taiwan, China and Japan.' Malaysia has anticipated the appearance of the disease; an AI DS task force under the auspices of the Ministry of Health was established in early 1986. However, it is only a year later that we now report the first case of AIDS in this country.
CNS toxoplasmosis presenting as hydrocephalus is a very rare entity. We present three cases of HIV positive patients whose brain imaging revealed hydrocephalus and who improved with anti toxoplasma medication along with intravenous steroids and did not require any CSF shunting procedures. The mechanism of hydrocephalus in CNS toxoplasmosis is usually due to compression of CSF outflow pathway by ring enhancing lesions but even in their absence hydrocephalus can be rarely seen due to ventriculitis. Hence in HIV positive patients with unexplained hydrocephalus CNS toxoplasmosis should be considered and such patients if started on treatment early have a good prognosis without requiring neurosurgical intervention.
A 7-year-old boy, referred with lymphoma, presented with prolonged fever and intra-abdominal lymphadenopathy demonstrated on computed tomography (CT) of the abdomen. Blood culture isolated Penicillium marneffei. The patient was subsequently proven serologically to be positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Treatment with amphotericin B followed by itraconazole was successful. A high level of clinical suspicion and awareness is necessary for early diagnosis of penicilliosis, especially in an era of an increasing prevalence of HIV in this region.
Cryptococcosis is a known opportunistic infection in immunosuppressed hosts. We report our experience of all cases presenting to our Department between December 1975 and September 1988. Eight post-renal transplant patients and three systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients were affected. All were receiving treatment with steroids, in association with either azathioprine or cyclosporin. The diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis was initially based on a positive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cryptococcal antigen, by latex agglutination test, and subsequently confirmed by cultures. Common clinical presentations, in descending order of frequency, included headaches, fever, mental confusion, epilepsy and papilloedema. Meningism was not a prominent feature. CT brain scans were obtained in eight patients and one showed a focal lesion and one showed cerebral atrophy. Four patients also had an abnormal chest X-ray (CXR) and one had disseminated cryptococcosis. Amphotericin and 5-fluorocytosine were the mainstay of therapy, although ketoconazole alone was subsequently used in three selected patients with cure. Four early deaths occurred in patients with delayed diagnosis and treatment, usually in association with other severe concurrent infections. We conclude that awareness of cryptococcosis is essential in immunocompromised hosts presenting with headache with, or without, mental confusion or fever.
Persistent superficial skin infection caused by multiple fungi is rarely reported. Recently, a number of fungi, both opportunistic and persistent in nature were isolated from the foot skin of a 24-year old male in Malaysia. The fungi were identified as Candida parapsilosis, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, Phoma spp., Debaryomyces hansenii, Acremonium spp., Aureobasidium pullulans and Aspergillus spp., This is the first report on these opportunistic strains were co-isolated from a healthy individual who suffered from persistent foot skin infection which was diagnosed as athlete's foot for more than 12 years. Among the isolated fungi, C. parapsilosis has been an increasingly common cause of skin infections. R. mucilaginosa and D. hansenii were rarely reported in cases of skin infection. A. pullulans, an emerging fungal pathogen was also being isolated in this case. Interestingly, it was noted that C. parapsilosis, R. mucilaginosa, D. hansenii and A. pullulans are among the common halophiles and this suggests the association of halotolerant fungi in causing persistent superficial skin infection. This discovery will shed light on future research to explore on effective treatment for inhibition of pathogenic halophiles as well as to understand the interaction of multiple fungi in the progress of skin infection.
An observational study was carried out to establish the existence of intestinal microsporidiosis among patients with and without gastrointestinal symptoms in Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia. A total of 893 faecal specimens from hospitalized patients were examined for microsporidia using a modification of the usual Gram-chromotrope stain technique. One hundred and sixteen (13.0%) patients were positive for microsporidia: 84 (72.4%), 27 (23.3%) and 5 (4.3%) were low, moderate and high excreters of microsporidia spores, respectively. Of the 91 patients with available medical records, microsporidiosis was commonly observed in children aged 0-6 years (26.4%) and adults aged >or=31 years (57.2%). About one-third of this infection was observed in immunocompetent individuals. Among the immunosuppressive group, microsporidia were observed to be more prevalent in patients with haematological malignancy or a combination of malignancy and diabetes mellitus. About 74% of the patients who had microsporidia in their faeces had gastrointestinal symptoms, which could be related to infections or induced by immunosuppressive therapy. The role of microsporidia in causing gastrointestinal symptoms in this population is as yet unclear.
Rhodococcus equi, a recognized pathogen in horses, is emerging as a human opportunistic pathogen, especially in immunocompromized hosts. We describe four immunocompromized patients who had serious R. equi infections with an overall mortality of 75%. The natural habitat of R. equi is soil, particularly soil contaminated with animal manure. Necrotizing pneumonia is the commonest form of infection but extrapulmonary infections, such as wound infections and subcutaneous abscess, have also been described in humans. R. equi is cultured easily in ordinary non-selective media. Large, smooth, irregular colonies appear within 48 hours. It is a facultative, intracellular, nonmotile, non-spore forming, gram-positive coccobacillus, which is weakly acid-fast staining and bears a similarity to diphtheroids. It forms a salmon-colored pigment usually after 48 hours incubation. A particular characteristic of this organism is that it undergoes synergistic hemolysis with some bacteria on sheep blood agar. R. equi may be misidentified as diphtheroids, Mycobacterium species, or Nocardia. In vitro R. equi is usually susceptible to erythromycin, ciprofloxacin, vancomycin, aminoglycosides, rifampin, imipenem and meropenem. The organism can be difficult to eradicate, making treatment challenging. Increased awareness of the infection may help with early diagnosis and timely treatment.
Persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have an increased risk of salmonellosis when compared to the general population. We describe seven such patients with Salmonella bacteremia, of whom two had recurrent salmonellosis. In the latter two cases the infection was unusually severe, characterized by widespread infection, bacteremia and relapse, despite standard antimicrobial therapy. HIV-infected individuals will benefit from education on the source of Salmonella, mode of acquisition and prevention through safe food handling and food preparation practices. Because of the difficulty of eradicating Salmonella infection in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, long-term suppressive treatment with antimicrobials is warranted.
This retrospective study was conducted at the National Tuberculosis Center (NTBC) where 252 HIV-positive patients coexisting with tuberculosis (TB/HIV) were examined. We found that patients with pulmonary (PTB) and extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPT) had similar mean age. A higher sex ratio between male to female (10.7:1) was observed in patients with PTB. The other characteristics of patients with pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis were not statistically different from each other. Cough (88%) and hemoptysis were the most common presenting symptoms, significantly related to patients with PTB. Lymphadenopathy (33.5%) was the most common sign in patients with EPT. The majority of patients with pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis had CD4 cell counts of less than 200 cells/mm3 (range 0-1,179 with a median of 57 cells/mm3). Lung (89%) and miliary (55.6%) forms were the most frequent disease locations in patients with PTB and EPT, respectively. A higher percentage of patients with PTB (42%) were treated successfully with short-course (6 months) therapy, whereas in patients with EPT (43%) needed a longer period (9 months) for successful treatment. Of the patients who defaulted treatment, a higher proportion (87%) had PTB. No MDR-TB or relapse cases were found in this study.
Hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome (HIE) is a rare condition characterised by marked elevation of serum IgE level, chronic dermatitis, intense pruritus, and recurrent serious infection. The major organism is usually S aureus. We report a case of an infant with HIE, who had pulmonary nocardiosis. The clinical features, immunological abnormalities, and radiological features of the condition are described. The child finally succumbed to the complications of pulmonary nocardiosis.
Penicillium marneffei has emerged as an important opportunistic pathogen in HIV-infected patients in Southeast Asia. We report the first 5 cases of P. marneffei diagnosed in Singapore. All the patients were HIV-infected and were either Thai nationals or had frequently travelled to Thailand. Fever, weight loss, anaemia and papular skin lesions were common clinical manifestations in our patients, all of whom had the organism isolated from blood. Skin biopsy specimens showed histological evidence of P. marneffei in 2 patients. In 1 patient each, the organism grew in cultures of specimens from bone marrow and respiratory secretions. Amphotericin B therapy followed by itraconazole were used in 3 of our 5 patients and was associated with good clinical response and outcome.
The HIV-positive population, due to their immuno-compromised nature, is considered more susceptible to parasitic infections than other populations. However despite the reports of other opportunistic pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and tuberculosis reported in vulnerable communities, microsporidia have not been highlighted in the local HIV-positive population in Malaysia. This study aimed to provide preliminary information on the prevalence of microsporidia in the local HIV-population. Microsporidia were detected in 21/247 (8.5%) stool samples from the HIV-infected individuals, a significantly higher (P-value <0.05) prevalence than in the control group, in which 5/173 (2.9%) were positive. HIV patients were 3x more at risk for acquiring microspordium (OR: 3.12; 95% CI 1.15-8.44). Spores were ellipsoid in shape with outlines that stained dark pink with the interior a lighter shade. Approximately 21% of the positive specimens were from individuals in the 40-49 years age group. Ten individuals who were positive for microsporidia were also positive for other enteric parasites such as Blastocystis hominis and Giardia lamblia. We detected Encephalitozoon intestinalis DNA following nested PCR from three of 10 samples analysed, as demonstrated by an amplicon of 370bp. From the findings reported, it appears that microsporidial infection in humans may actually be more common than reported. We strongly advocate greater emphasis on personal hygiene through public education on personal hygiene and the consumption of boiled or filtered water.
Despite the great importance of Aureobasidium pullulans in biotechnology, the fungus had emerged as an opportunistic human pathogen, especially among immunocompromised patients. Clinical detection of this rare human fungal pathogen presently relies on morphology diagnosis which may be misleading. Thus, a sensitive and accurate quantitative molecular assay for A. pullulans remains lacking. In this study, we presented the microscopy observations of A. pullulans that reveals the phenotypic plasticity of the fungus. A. pullulans-specific primers and molecular beacon probes were designed based on the fungal 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene. Comparison of two probes with varied quencher chemistry, namely BHQ-1 and Tamra, revealed high amplification efficiency of 104% and 108%, respectively. The optimized quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assays could detect and quantify up to 1 pg concentration of A. pullulans DNA. Both assays displayed satisfactory performance parameters at fast thermal cycling mode. The molecular assay has great potential as a molecular diagnosis tool for early detection of fungal infection caused by A. pullulans, which merits future study in clinical diagnosis.
Penicilliosis is a systemic fungal infection caused by Penicillium marneffei. The infection is most commonly seen in Southeast Asia, Southern China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. It is rarely seen among individuals of African descent. Here, we report a case of penicilliosis in an African man from Namibia who was studying in Malaysia. He presented with multiple umbilicated papules associated with cough, fever, loss of appetite, and weight. He also had urethral discharge and admitted to unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners. Histopathological examination of a skin papule showed the presence of multiple 2 to 4 microm intracellular yeast cells. Culture of the papule revealed Penicillium marneffei. The serology for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was positive. This case illustrates the need to recognize penicilliosis in any individuals staying or travelling to Southeast Asia and the need to look for underlying HIV infection in adults with umbilicated papules.
We describe here a case of cryptococcal empyema thoracis and periauricular pyogenic abscess in a child with Bruton's agammaglobulinaemia. The cryptococcal empyema thoracis was treated with intravenous amphotericin B and intravenous fluconazole for six weeks followed by oral fluconazole. The pyogenic periauricular abscess was surgically drained and treated with intravenous ceftazidime and cloxacillin for two weeks. He also received monthly intravenous immunoglobulin.
Strongyloidiasis is an infection caused by the intestinal nematode Strongyloides stercoralis. Infected healthy individuals are usually asymptomatic, however it is potentially fatal in immunocompromised hosts due to its capacity to cause an overwhelming hyperinfection. Strongyloidiasis could be missed during routine screening because of low and intermittent larval output in stool and variable manifestations of the symptoms. We present two cases of strongyloidiasis occurring in children with solid organ malignancies suspected to have the infection based on their clinical conditions and treatment history for cancer. Both patients were diagnosed by molecular and serological tests and were successfully treated. Thus, strongyloidiasis in patients undergoing intensive treatment for malignancies should be suspected, properly investigated and treated accordingly.
A proportion of HIV patients beginning antiretroviral therapy (ART) develop immune restoration disease (IRD). Immunological characteristics of IRD were investigated in a cohort of HIV patients beginning therapy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.