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Fatal disseminated fusarium infection in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in complete remission

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bridget Wilkins


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Fusarium species are increasingly recognised as serious pathogens in the immunocompromised. The outcome in the context of persistent severe neutropenia has been almost universally fatal. However, there have been several case reports of successful treatment if neutrophil recovery can be achieved. This report presents the case of a fatality that occurred despite neutrophil recovery. A 67 year old man developed disseminated fusariosis during the neutropenic phase of induction chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Fusarium dimerum was isolated from blood cultures. This species is highly unusual and very few case reports exist in the literature. An initial response to amphotericin treatment coincided with neutrophil recovery but a subsequent relapse occurred, despite adequate neutrophil counts, which proved fatal. It is postulated that reseeding of the blood from an occult site, namely the right vitreum in this case, led to this secondary relapse despite achieving complete leukaemic remission.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Austen B, McCarthy H, Wilkins BS, Smith A, Duncombe A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Pathology

Year: 2001

Volume: 54

Issue: 6

Pages: 488-490

ISSN (print): 0021-9746

ISSN (electronic): 1472-4146

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/jcp.54.6.488


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