Systemic Penicillium marneffei infection in a child with common variable immunodeficiency
Lin WC, Dai YS, Tsai MJ, Huang LM, Chiang BL.
Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei.
Penicillium marneffei is rarely pathogenic in humans. Most previously reported cases of P. marneffei infection were from Southeast Asia where patients were usually in an immunocompromised state due to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The majority of the patients reported in Western countries were immunocompromised by malignancy, especially Hodgkin's lymphoma. In Taiwan, the first case of P. marneffei infection was reported in 1994 and involved an adult with HIV infection. We report a case of systemic P. marneffei infection in a child with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID). The patient, a 4-year, 5-month-old boy, had a 1-year history of oligoarthritis resembling juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). He developed a low grade fever (38 degrees C) and hepatosplenomegaly 1 month before admission to the hospital. Although cultures of synovial fluid obtained at the time of onset of oligoarthritis did not grow any organisms, cultures of blood, bone marrow, synovial fluid, and lymph node biopsy samples taken during this admission were positive for P. marneffei. Further immunologic studies revealed a profile characteristic of CVID. The fungal infection was finally eradicated by combined therapy with amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole, and regular immunoglobulin replacement. This case reminds us that JRA or JRA-like arthritis should be differentiated from septic arthritis caused by rare pathogens in immunocompromised patients.