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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


Chromobacterium Violaceum Sepsis: Rethinking Conventional Therapy to Improve Outcome

Challenging differential diagnosis, Management of emergency care, Rare disease

Kathleen R. Richard, Joshua J. Lovvorn, Sara E. Oliver, Shannon A. Ross, Kim W. Benner, Michele Y.F. Kong

USA Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

Am J Case Rep 2015; 16:740-744

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.894509

Available online: 2015-10-19

Published: 2015-10-19


BACKGROUND: Chromobacterium violaceum (C. violaceum) is a facultative anaerobic gram-negative bacterium found in soil and water, especially in tropical and subtropical areas. Although infection in humans is rare, it is associated with significant morbidity. The bacterium is known for its resistance to multiple antimicrobials, and the possibility of relapse and reinfection. Presence of bacteremia, disseminated infection, and ineffective antimicrobial agents are predictors of mortality.
CASE REPORT: We report the case of a previously healthy 11-year-old male with C. violaceum sepsis who was exposed to stagnant water. He presented with severe septic shock and developed multi-organ system failure. Initial presumptive diagnosis was staphylococcal infection secondary to presence of skin abscesses resulting in antibiotic coverage with vancomycin, clindamycin, nafcillin and ceftriaxone. He also had multiple lung and liver abscesses. Once C. violaceum was identified, he received meropenem and ciprofloxacin, and was later discharged on ertapenem and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) to complete a total of six months of antibiotics. He was diagnosed with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) and is currently on prophylactic TMP-SMX and itraconazole. He has not had any relapses since his initial presentation.
CONCLUSIONS: This case highlights the importance of considering C. violaceum as a relevant human pathogen, and considering it early in temperate regions, particularly in cases of fulminant sepsis associated with multi-organ abscesses. Once C. violaceum is identified, appropriate antimicrobial therapy should be started promptly, and sufficient duration of treatment is necessary for successful therapy.

Keywords: Anti-Bacterial Agents - therapeutic use, Child, Chromobacterium - isolation & purification, Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections - microbiology, Sepsis - microbiology