Infection caused by nocardia farcinica: Case report and review

O. H. Torres, P. Domingo, R. Pericas, P. Boiron, J. A. Montiel, G. Vázquez

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    Nocardia farcinica is a rare Nocardia species causing localised and disseminated infections. A case of Nocardia farcinica infection is presented, and 52 cases previously reported in the literature are reviewed. The hosts usually had predisposing conditions (85%), and acquired the infection through the respiratory tract or skin; the infection then often spread to the brain, kidney, joints, bones and eyes. Pulmonary or pleural infections (43%), brain abscesses (30%) and wound infections (15%) which failed to respond to conventional antimicrobial therapy were the more frequent forms of infection. Nocardia farcinica was frequently isolated from pus (100% of samples), bronchial secretions (41%) and biopsy specimens (63%), but isolation from blood and urine, as in the case presented here, is rare. Antibiotic therapy was adequate in 61% of the patients in whom it was specified, the agents most frequently given being trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (54%), amikacin combined with imipenem (7%) and amoxicillin-clavulanate (7%). The high mortality (31%) can be attributed to the severe underlying diseases present, difficulties encountered in identifying the pathogen, inappropriate therapy and late initiation of therapy. Although an infrequent pathogen, Nocardia farcinica should be kept in mind as a cause of infection especially in immunosuppressed patients with indolent infections not responding to third-generation cephalosporins.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)205-212
    JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


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