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Intestinal invasion and disseminated disease associated with Penicillium chrysogenum

Author(s): Barcus Adrian | Burdette Steven | Herchline Thomas

Journal: Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials
ISSN 1476-0711

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 21;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Abstract Background Penicillium sp., other than P. marneffei, is an unusual cause of invasive disease. These organisms are often identified in immunosuppressed patients, either due to human immunodeficiency virus or from immunosuppressant medications post-transplantation. They are a rarely identified cause of infection in immunocompetent hosts. Case presentation A 51 year old African-American female presented with an acute abdomen and underwent an exploratory laparotomy which revealed an incarcerated peristomal hernia. Her postoperative course was complicated by severe sepsis syndrome with respiratory failure, hypotension, leukocytosis, and DIC. On postoperative day 9 she was found to have an anastamotic breakdown. Pathology from the second surgery showed transmural ischemic necrosis with angioinvasion of a fungal organism. Fungal blood cultures were positive for Penicillium chrysogenum and the patient completed a 6 week course of amphotericin B lipid complex, followed by an extended course oral intraconazole. She was discharged to a nursing home without evidence of recurrent infection. Discussion Penicillium chrysogenum is a rare cause of infection in immunocompetent patients. Diagnosis can be difficult, but Penicillium sp. grows rapidly on routine fungal cultures. Prognosis remains very poor, but aggressive treatment is essential, including surgical debridement and the removal of foci of infection along with the use of amphotericin B. The clinical utility of newer antifungal agents remains to be determined.
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