Saturday, May 05, 2007

Disseminated cutaneous nocardiosis mimicking cellulitis and erythema nodosum.

Disseminated cutaneous nocardiosis mimicking cellulitis and erythema nodosum.
Dermatol Online J. 2006 Dec 10

George SJ,
Rivera AM,
Hsu S.
Department of Dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.

Infection with Nocardia asteroides is a rare, life-threatening infection, which is most commonly encountered in immunocompromised patients. Cutaneous involvement is usually seen with disseminated infection but may also occur as primary cutaneous nocardiosis. We present a case of an immunocompromised patient who presented with cellulitis of the right hand and disseminated subcutaneous nodules of the lower extremities resembling erythema nodosum. Cultures from both a skin biopsy of a subcutaneous nodule on the leg as well as a surgical specimen from the debridement of her hand grew Nocardia asteroides. The patient was treated successfully with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

This case likely represents primary cutaneous nocardiosis with secondary dissemination, which has been rarely reported. It also emphasizes that nocardial infection should be considered in the differential diagnosis of lesions suggestive of cellulitis or erythema


Cutaneous nocardiosis as an opportunistic infection

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Mar

Comment in:
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Jun 26;148(26):1311; author reply 1311.

Bogaard HJ,
Erkelens GW,
Faber WR,
de Vries PJ.

Afd. Longziekten, Academisch Medisch Centrum/Universiteit van Amsterdam, Postbus 22.660, 1100 DD Amsterdam.

A 46-year-old man who had been treated with azathioprine and budesonide for Crohn's disease for the past eight years developed a purulent skin condition on the right ring finger. Despite surgical drainage and treatment with amoxicillin and flucloxacillin, the condition spread itself over the hand and lower arm, partly per continuum and partly in jumps. The patient did not feel ill and there were no systemic symptoms. Ultimately, Nocardia asteroides was cultured from the wound and complete cure was achieved after 8 months' treatment with co-trimoxazole. Infections with Nocardia spp. are rare but may occur more often and run a more fulminant course in patients under treatment with immunosuppressants. Cutaneous nocardiosis generally has a characteristic lymphogenous spreading pattern, but an atypical picture with pustules, pyoderma, cellulitis or abscess formation is also possible. In non-cutaneous nocardiosis there is usually pneumonia or lung abscess, possibly with secondary haematogenous spread to the central nervous system or skin. Culturing Nocardia requires more time than usual but can be promoted by special culture media. Treatment of the infection with co-trimoxazole is the method of choice and is almost always successful in cases of cutaneous nocardiosis.

PMID: 15054953 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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