Clinical and microbiological features of nocardiosis 1997-2003

J. Muñoz, B. Mirelis, L. M. Aragón, N. Gutiérrez, F. Sánchez, M. Español, O. Esparcia, M. Gurguí, P. Domingo, P. Coll

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119 Citations (Scopus)


Nocardiosis has been believed to be caused by the members of the Nocardia asteroides complex and the Nocardia brasiliensis species. However, recent advances in genotypic identification have shown that the genus exhibits considerable taxonomic complexity and the phenotypic markers used in the past for its identification can be ambiguous. The aim of this study was to assess the species distribution of Nocardia isolates and to determine whether there are differences in pathogenicity or antimicrobial susceptibility between the different species identified. Nocardia isolates obtained over a 7 year period were retrospectively reviewed. The isolates were identified genotypically, their antibiotic susceptibility was tested and the clinical data of the 27 patients were retrieved. Eight different Nocardia species were identified: Nocardia farcinica (n=9), Nocardia abscessus (n=6), Nocardia cyriacigeorgica (n=6), Nocardia otitidiscaviarum (n=2), Nocardia nova (n=1), N. nova complex (n=1), Nocardia carnea (n=1) and Nocardia transvalensis complex (n=1). All species were susceptible to co-trimoxazole but different patterns of susceptibility to other agents were observed. All patients had active comorbidities at the time of infection. A total of 19 patients were immunosuppressed, due to human immunodeficiency virus infection, chronic corticosteroid therapy, immunosupressive therapy or haematological malignancies. Six patients displayed a Charlson comorbidity index score above 4. Global mortality was 50 % while attributable mortality was 34.6 %. Patients infected with N. farcinica - the most resistant species - had the highest Charlson index score and the highest mortality rate. Accurate identification of the species and susceptibility testing of Nocardia isolates may play an important role in diagnosis and treatment. © 2007 SGM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-550
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007


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