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1.  Pneumocystis jirovecii dihydropteroate synthase gene mutations in a group of HIV-negative immunocompromised patients with Pneumocystis pneumonia 
The purpose of this study was to investigate dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) mutations and their clinical context in non-HIV-infected patients with Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). DHPS genes in respiratory samples collected from HIV-negative patients with PCP presented between January 2008 and April 2011 were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequenced. Basic clinical data from the medical records of the patients were also reviewed. The most common point mutations, which result in Thr55Ala and Pro57Ser amino acid substitutions, were not detected in the Pneumocystis jirovecii sampled from the HIV-negative patients. Two other point mutations, which result in nonsynonymous mutation, Asp90Asn and Glu98Lys, were identified in P. jirovecii from two patients. Among the patients, the levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), C-reactive protein (CRP) and plasma (1–3) β-D-glucan were elevated in 75, 92.31 and 42.86% of patients, respectively. The percentage of circulating lymphocytes was significantly lower in non-survivors than in survivors [4.2%, interquartile range (IQR) 2.4–5.85 versus 10.1%, IQR 5.65–23.4; P=0.019]. The neutrophil proportion in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was significantly higher in non-survivors than in survivors (49.78±27.67 versus 21.33±15.03%; P=0.047). Thirteen patients had received adjunctive corticosteroids (1 mg/kg/day prednisone equivalent) and nine (69.23%) of them eventually experienced treatment failure. No common DHPS gene mutations of P. jirovecii were detected in the HIV-negative PCP patients. However, other mutations did exist, the significance of which remains to be further identified. The elevation of neutrophil counts in BALF and reduction of the number of lymphocytes in peripheral blood may be associated with poor outcome. The efficacy of adjunctive steroid therapy in HIV-negative patients with P. jirovecii infection requires further investigation.
doi:10.3892/etm.2014.2002
PMCID: PMC4218695  PMID: 25371739
Pneumocystis jirovecii; drug resistance; dihydropteroate synthase gene; mutation
2.  Non-HIV Pneumocystis pneumonia: do conventional community-acquired pneumonia guidelines under estimate its severity? 
Background
Non-HIV Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) can occur in immunosuppressed patients having malignancy or on immunosuppressive agents. To classify severity, the A-DROP scale proposed by the Japanese Respiratory Society (JRS), the CURB-65 score of the British Respiratory Society (BTS) and the Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI) of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) are widely used in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in Japan. To evaluate how correctly these conventional prognostic guidelines for CAP reflect the severity of non-HIV PCP, we retrospectively analyzed 21 patients with non-HIV PCP.
Methods
A total of 21 patients were diagnosed by conventional staining and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for respiratory samples with chest x-ray and computed tomography (CT) findings. We compared the severity of 21 patients with PCP classified by A-DROP, CURB-65, and PSI. Also, patients’ characteristics, clinical pictures, laboratory results at first visit or admission and intervals from diagnosis to start of specific-PCP therapy were evaluated in both survivor and non-survivor groups.
Results
Based on A-DROP, 18 patients were classified as mild or moderate; respiratory failure developed in 15 of these 18 (83.3%), and 7/15 (46.7%) died. Based on CURB-65, 19 patients were classified as mild or moderate; respiratory failure developed in 16/19 (84.2%), and 8 of the 16 (50%) died. In contrast, PSI classified 14 as severe or extremely severe; all of the 14 (100%) developed respiratory failure and 8/14 (57.1%) died. There were no significant differences in laboratory results in these groups. The time between the initial visit and diagnosis, and the time between the initial visit and starting of specific-PCP therapy were statistically shorter in the survivor group than in the non-survivor group.
Conclusions
Conventional prognostic guidelines for CAP could underestimate the severity of non-HIV PCP, resulting in a therapeutic delay resulting in high mortality. The most important factor to improve the mortality of non-HIV PCP is early diagnosis and starting of specific-PCP therapy as soon as possible.
doi:10.1186/2049-6958-7-2
PMCID: PMC3415119  PMID: 22958656
Community acquired pneumonia; Guidelines; Mortality; Non-HIV Pneumocystis pneumonia
3.  Blood (1→3)-β-D-Glucan as a Diagnostic Test for HIV-Related Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia 
In a large group of HIV-infected clinical trial participants with diverse opportunistic infections, blood beta-glucan was a more sensitive noninvasive test for PCP than serum LDH; sensitivity was also higher than that frequently reported for induced sputum examinations.
(See the editorial commentary by Morris and Masur, on pages 203–204.)
Background. Improved noninvasive diagnostic tests for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) are needed. We evaluated the test characteristics of plasma (1→3)-β-D-glucan (β-glucan) for HIV-related PCP among a large group of patients presenting with diverse opportunistic infections (OIs).
Methods. The study population included all 282 participants in AIDS Clinical Trials Group A5164, a study of early versus deferred antiretroviral therapy in conjunction with initial therapy of acute OIs. Baseline plasma samples were assayed for β-glucan, with standard assay reference values defining ≥80 pg/mL as positive. Before this analysis, diagnosis of PCP was independently adjudicated by 2 study investigators after reviewing reports from study sites.
Results. A total of 252 persons had a β-glucan result that could be analyzed, 173 (69%) of whom had received a diagnosis of PCP. Median β-glucan with PCP was 408 pg/mL (interquartile range [IQR], 209–500 pg/mL), compared with 37 pg/mL (IQR, 31–235 pg/mL) without PCP (P < .001). The sensitivity of β-glucan dichotomized at 80 pg/mL for the diagnosis of PCP was 92% (95% confidence interval [CI], 87%–96%), and the specificity was 65% (95% CI, 53%–75%); positive and negative predictive values were 85% (95% CI, 79%–90%) and 80% (95% CI, 68%–89%) respectively, based on the study prevalence of 69% of patients with PCP. Rates of abnormal lactate dehyrogenase levels did not differ significantly between those with and without PCP.
Conclusions. Blood (1→3)-β-D-glucan is strongly correlated with HIV-related PCP. In some clinical centers, this may be a more sensitive test than the induced sputum examination and could reduce the need for both bronchoscopy and empirical therapy of PCP.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir335
PMCID: PMC3165964  PMID: 21690628
4.  Low Prevalence of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) but High Prevalence of Pneumocystis dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) Gene Mutations in HIV-Infected Persons in Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49991.
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is an important opportunistic infection in patients infected with HIV, but its burden is incompletely characterized in those areas of sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is prevalent. We explored the prevalence of both PCP in HIV-infected adults admitted with pneumonia to a tertiary-care hospital in Uganda and of putative P. jirovecii drug resistance by mutations in fungal dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) and dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr). In 129 consecutive patients with sputum smears negative for mycobacteria, 5 (3.9%) were diagnosed with PCP by microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Concordance was 100% between Giemsa stain and PCR (dhps and dhfr). PCP was more prevalent in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV (11.4%) than in patients with known HIV (1.1%; p = 0.007). Mortality at 2 months after discharge was 29% overall: 28% among PCP-negative patients, and 60% (3 of 5) among PCP-positive patients. In these 5 fungal isolates and an additional 8 from consecutive cases of PCP, all strains harbored mutant dhps haplotypes; all 13 isolates harbored the P57S mutation in dhps, and 3 (23%) also harbored the T55A mutation. No non-synonymous dhfr mutations were detected. PCP is an important cause of pneumonia in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV in Uganda, is associated with high mortality, and putative molecular evidence of drug resistance is prevalent. Given the reliability of field diagnosis in our cohort, future studies in sub-Saharan Africa can investigate the clinical impact of these genotypes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049991
PMCID: PMC3500344  PMID: 23166805
5.  Critical care management and outcome of severe Pneumocystis pneumonia in patients with and without HIV infection 
Critical Care  2008;12(1):R28.
Background
Little is known about the most severe forms of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) in HIV-negative as compared with HIV-positive patients. Improved knowledge about the differential characteristics and management modalities could guide treatment based on HIV status.
Methods
We retrospectively compared 72 patients (73 cases, 46 HIV-positive) admitted for PCP from 1993 to 2006 in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital.
Results
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients increased from 1993 (0%) to 2006 (6.5%). At admission, all but one non-HIV patient were receiving corticosteroids. Twenty-three (85%) HIV-negative patients were receiving an additional immunosuppressive treatment. At admission, HIV-negative patients were significantly older than HIV-positive patients (64 [18 to 82] versus 37 [28 to 56] years old) and had a significantly higher Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II (38 [13 to 90] versus 27 [11 to 112]) but had a similar PaO2/FiO2 (arterial partial pressure of oxygen/fraction of inspired oxygen) ratio (160 [61 to 322] versus 183 [38 to 380] mm Hg). Ventilatory support was required in a similar proportion of HIV-negative and HIV-positive cases (78% versus 61%), with a similar proportion of first-line non-invasive ventilation (NIV) (67% versus 54%). NIV failed in 71% of HIV-negative and in 13% of HIV-positive patients (p < 0.01). Mortality was significantly higher in HIV-negative than HIV-positive cases (48% versus 17%). The HIV-negative status (odds ratio 3.73, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 12.60) and SAPS II (odds ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.12) were independently associated with mortality at multivariate analysis.
Conclusion
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients in our unit increased from 1993 to 2006. The course of the disease and the outcome were worse in HIV-negative patients. NIV often failed in HIV-negative cases, suggesting that NIV must be watched closely in this population.
doi:10.1186/cc6806
PMCID: PMC2374632  PMID: 18304356
6.  Immune Modulation with Sulfasalazine Attenuates Immunopathogenesis but Enhances Macrophage-Mediated Fungal Clearance during Pneumocystis Pneumonia 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(8):e1001058.
Although T cells are critical for host defense against respiratory fungal infections, they also contribute to the immunopathogenesis of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP). However, the precise downstream effector mechanisms by which T cells mediate these diverse processes are undefined. In the current study the effects of immune modulation with sulfasalazine were evaluated in a mouse model of PcP-related Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (PcP-IRIS). Recovery of T cell-mediated immunity in Pneumocystis-infected immunodeficient mice restored host defense, but also initiated the marked pulmonary inflammation and severe pulmonary function deficits characteristic of IRIS. Sulfasalazine produced a profound attenuation of IRIS, with the unexpected consequence of accelerated fungal clearance. To determine whether macrophage phagocytosis is an effector mechanism of T cell-mediated Pneumocystis clearance and whether sulfasalazine enhances clearance by altering alveolar macrophage phagocytic activity, a novel multispectral imaging flow cytometer-based method was developed to quantify the phagocytosis of Pneumocystis in vivo. Following immune reconstitution, alveolar macrophages from PcP-IRIS mice exhibited a dramatic increase in their ability to actively phagocytose Pneumocystis. Increased phagocytosis correlated temporally with fungal clearance, and required the presence of CD4+ T cells. Sulfasalazine accelerated the onset of the CD4+ T cell-dependent alveolar macrophage phagocytic response in PcP-IRIS mice, resulting in enhanced fungal clearance. Furthermore, sulfasalazine promoted a TH2-polarized cytokine environment in the lung, and sulfasalazine-enhanced phagocytosis of Pneumocystis was associated with an alternatively activated alveolar macrophage phenotype. These results provide evidence that macrophage phagocytosis is an important in vivo effector mechanism for T cell-mediated Pneumocystis clearance, and that macrophage phenotype can be altered to enhance phagocytosis without exacerbating inflammation. Immune modulation can diminish pulmonary inflammation while preserving host defense, and has therapeutic potential for the treatment of PcP-related immunopathogenesis.
Author Summary
Pneumocystis is a fungal respiratory pathogen that causes life-threatening pneumonia (PcP) in immunosuppressed patients. PcP remains an infectious complication of AIDS and cancer, and is emerging in previously unrecognized clinical settings. Despite dramatic advances in health care and the availability of antibiotics to treat this infection, mortality rates have improved little over the past 25 years. T cell-mediated immunity is critical for host defense against respiratory fungal infections. However, T cells also cause PcP-related inflammation and lung injury. The results of the current study indicate that the immune response to Pneumocystis can be modulated to reduce tissue damaging inflammation while enhancing anti-fungal host defense. Alveolar macrophages recognize and eliminate pathogens from the lung and also regulate inflammation. We have identified alveolar macrophages as the effector cells for T cell-dependent clearance of Pneumocystis from the lung, and demonstrated that macrophage phenotype can be altered to enhance microbe elimination without promoting inflammatory injury. These results suggest that the effector mechanism of T cell-mediated fungal clearance is distinct from the effector mechanism of T cell-mediated lung inflammation and injury. This conceptual advance can be exploited to develop more effective therapeutic strategies to block inflammation while preserving host defense.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001058
PMCID: PMC2924364  PMID: 20808846
7.  Pneumocystis Pneumonia in Hospitalized Patients; A Detailed Examination of Symptoms, Management, and Outcomes in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Persons 
Background
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is a life-threatening infection for immunocompromised individuals. There are robust data and clear guidelines for prophylaxis and treatment of HIV-related Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (HIV-PCP), yet few data and no guidelines for non-HIV related Pneumocystis pneumonia (NH-PCP). We postulated that prevention and inpatient management of HIV-PCP differed from NH-PCP.
Methods
We performed a retrospective case review of all pathologically confirmed cases of PCP seen at the University of Alabama Medical Center from 1996 to 2008. Data on clinical presentation, hospital course, and outcome were collected using a standardized data collection instrument. Bivariate analysis compared prophylaxis, adjunctive corticosteroids, and clinical outcomes between patients with HIV-PCP and NH-PCP.
Results
Our analysis of the cohort included 97 cases of PCP; 65 HIV and 32 non-HIV cases. Non-HIV cases rarely received primary prophylaxis (4% vs. 38%, p=0.01) and received appropriate antibiotics later in the course of hospitalization (5.2 vs 1.1 days, P<0.005). Among transplant patients, NH-PCP was diagnosed a mean of 1,066 days after transplantation and most patients were on low-dose corticosteroids (87%) at the time of disease onset. No significant differences in adjunctive corticosteroid use (69% vs. 77%, p=0.39) and 90-day mortality (41% vs. 28%, p=0.20) were detected.
Conclusions
Patients who have undergone organ or stem cell transplant remain at risk for PCP for many years after transplantation. In our cohort, patients who developed NH-PCP were rarely given prophylaxis and initiation of appropriate antibiotics was significantly delayed compared to cases of HIV-PCP. Medical providers should be aware of the ongoing risk for NH-PCP, even late after transplantation, and consider more aggressive approaches to both prophylaxis and earlier empiric therapy for PCP.
doi:10.1111/j.1399-3062.2012.00739.x
PMCID: PMC3889465  PMID: 22548840
Pneumocystis Pneumonia; Transplant; Infectious Complications
8.  Outcomes of Moderate-to-Severe Pneumocystis Pneumonia Treated with Adjunctive Steroid in Non-HIV-Infected Patients▿† 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(10):4613-4618.
While it is well-known that adjunctive corticosteroid use improves the outcome of moderate-to-severe Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PcP) in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), there are limited data on its efficacy in non-HIV-infected patients with PcP. Patients undergoing fiber-optic bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage for suspected PcP from January 2007 through December 2010 were reviewed retrospectively. We compared demographics, clinical characteristics, and outcomes in 88 non-HIV-infected patients with moderate-to-severe PcP with (n = 59) and without (n = 29) adjunctive corticosteroid use. Outcomes of PcP were assessed by respiratory failure and 30-day and 90-day all-cause mortality. Survival curves were analyzed by the Kaplan-Meier method and estimated by the log rank test. All-cause mortality of moderate-to-severe PcP at 90 days was lower in the solid-organ transplant recipients than in all other patients (6/26 [23%] versus 34/62 [55%], respectively; P = 0.006), and mortality at 30 days was lower in patients with hematologic malignancies than in all other patients (4/26 [15%] versus 24/62 [39%], respectively; P = 0.03). The outcomes of PcP were not significantly different in moderate-to-severe PcP patients with and without adjunctive corticosteroid use, regardless of recent corticosteroid use. Survival analysis of PcP patients with and without corticosteroid use by the Kaplan-Meier method also did not reveal any difference (log rank test; P = 0.81). There again was no difference within the subgroup of PcP patients with solid-organ transplants. Adjunctive corticosteroid use may not improve the outcome of moderate-to-severe PcP in non-HIV-infected patients.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00669-11
PMCID: PMC3186978  PMID: 21788460
9.  The unmasking of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia during reversal of immunosuppression: case reports and literature review 
Background
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) is an important opportunistic infection among immunosuppressed patients, especially in those infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The clinical presentation of PCP in immunosuppressed patients have been well-reported in the literature. However, the clinical importance of PCP manifesting in the setting of an immunorestitution disease (IRD), defined as an acute symptomatic or paradoxical deterioration of a (presumably) preexisting infection, which is temporally related to the recovery of the immune system and is due to immunopathological damage associated with the reversal of immunosuppressive processes, has received relatively little attention until recently.
Case presentation
We aim to better define this unique clinical syndrome by reporting two cases of PCP manifesting acutely with respiratory failure during reversal of immunosuppression in non-HIV infected patients, and reviewed the relevant literature. We searched our databases for PCP cases manifesting in the context of IRD according to our predefined case definition, and reviewed the case notes retrospectively. A comprehensive search was performed using the Medline database of the National Library of Medicine for similar cases reported previously in the English literature in October 2003. A total of 28 non-HIV (excluding our present case) and 13 HIV-positive patients with PCP manifesting as immunorestitution disease (IRD) have been reported previously in the literature. During immunorestitution, a consistent rise in the median CD4 lymphocyte count (28/μL to 125/μL), with a concomitant fall in the median HIV viral load (5.5 log10 copies/ml to 3.1 log10 copies/ml) was observed in HIV-positive patients who developed PCP. A similar upsurge in peripheral lymphocyte count was observed in our patients preceding the development of PCP, as well as in other non-HIV immunosuppressed patients reported in the literature.
Conclusions
PCP manifesting as IRD may be more common than is generally appreciated. Serial monitoring of total lymphocyte or CD4 count could serve as a useful adjunct to facilitate the early diagnosis and pre-emptive treatment of this condition in a wide range of immunosuppressed hosts, especially in the presence of new pulmonary symptoms and/or radiographic abnormalities compatible with the diagnosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-57
PMCID: PMC539247  PMID: 15588295
10.  Prophylaxis for Pneumocystis pneumonia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with biologics, based on risk factors found in a retrospective study 
Introduction
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is one of the most prevalent opportunistic infections in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy. In this article, we discuss risk factors for PCP development in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during the course of biologic therapy and describe a prophylactic treatment for PCP with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX). We also evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the treatment.
Methods
We retrospectively analyzed 702 RA patients who received biologic therapy and compared the characteristics of patients with vs. without PCP to identify the risk factors for PCP. Accordingly, we analyzed 214 patients who received the TMP/SMX biologic agents as prophylaxis against PCP at the start of treatment to evaluate their effectiveness and safety.
Results
We identified the following as risk factors for PCP: age at least 65 years (hazard ratio (HR) = 4.37, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04 to 18.2), coexisting pulmonary disease (HR = 8.13, 95% CI = 1.63 to 40.0), and use of glucocorticoids (HR = 11.4, 95% CI = 1.38 to 90.9). We employed a protocol whereby patients with two or three risk factors for PCP would receive prophylactic treatment. In the study with 214 patients, there were no cases of PCP, and the incidence of PCP was reduced to 0.00 per 100 person-years compared with that before the procedure (0.93 per 100 person-years). There were no severe adverse events induced by the TMP/SMX treatment.
Conclusions
RA patients with two or three risk factors for PCP who are receiving biologic therapy can benefit from safe primary prophylaxis.
doi:10.1186/ar4472
PMCID: PMC3978920  PMID: 24495443
11.  Genotypic variation in Pneumocystis jirovecii isolates in Britain 
Thorax  2005;60(8):679-682.
Background: Pneumocystis jirovecii is the cause of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in immunosuppressed humans. Asymptomatic colonisation with P jirovecii may occur in patients with minor immunosuppression or chronic lung disease. The aim of this study was to describe the molecular epidemiology of P jirovecii in Britain over a period of 12.5 years.
Methods: Between January 1989 and July 2001 161 samples of P jirovecii were obtained from patients with PCP (n = 119), patients colonised by P jirovecii (n = 35), and from air spora (n = 6). Genotyping of samples was performed at the mitochondrial large subunit rRNA (mt LSU rRNA).
Results: Genotype 1 (38%) was the most frequently identified genotype: genotypes 2 (26.6%), 3 (20.3%), and 4 (5%) were less common. Mixed infection (more than one genotype) was identified in 10% of samples. While genotype 1 was the most frequently detected type in both patients with PCP and those colonised by P jirovecii (38% and 42%, respectively), these groups differed in the relatively lower rate of detection of genotype 4 (2% v 17%) and the higher detection of mixed infection in those with PCP (13% v 3%). Detection of specific genotypes of P jirovecii was associated with the patient's place of residence (p = 0.02). There was no association between specific genotypes and severity of PCP as measured by arterial oxygen tension (p = 0.3).
Conclusions: The evidence of clustering of specific genotypes with patient's postcode of residence is consistent with the hypothesis of person to person transmission of P jirovecii via the airborne route. The lack of association between specific mt LSU rRNA genotypes and severity of PCP suggests that this locus is not implicated in the virulence of the organism.
doi:10.1136/thx.2004.039818
PMCID: PMC1747490  PMID: 16061710
12.  Failure to prescribe pneumocystis prophylaxis is associated with increased mortality, even in the cART era: results from the Treat Asia HIV observational database 
Background
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis is recommended for patients with CD4 counts of less than 200 cells/mm3. This study examines the proportion of patients in the TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database (TAHOD) receiving PCP prophylaxis, and its effect on PCP and mortality.
Methods
TAHOD patients with prospective follow up had data extracted for prophylaxis using co-trimoxazole, dapsone or pentamidine. The proportion of patients on prophylaxis was calculated for each calendar year since 2003 among patients with CD4 counts of less than 200 cells/mm3. The effect of prophylaxis on PCP and survival were assessed using random-effect Poisson regression models.
Results
There were a total of 4050 patients on prospective follow up, and 90% of them were receiving combination antiretroviral therapy. Of those with CD4 counts of less than 200 cells/mm3, 58% to 72% in any given year received PCP prophylaxis, predominantly co-trimoxazole. During follow up, 62 patients developed PCP (0.5 per 100 person-years) and 169 died from all causes (1.36/100 person-years). After stratifying by site and adjusting for age, CD4 count, CDC stage and antiretroviral treatment, those without prophylaxis had no higher risk of PCP, but had a significantly higher risk of death (incident rate ratio 10.8, p < 0.001). PCP prophylaxis had greatest absolute benefit in patients with CD4 counts of less than 50 cells/mm3, lowering mortality rates from 33.5 to 6.3 per 100 person-years.
Conclusions
Approximately two-thirds of TAHOD patients with CD4 counts of less than 200 cells/mm3 received PCP prophylaxis. Patients without prophylaxis had significantly higher mortality, even in the era of combination ART. Although PCP may be under-diagnosed, these data suggest that prophylaxis is associated with important survival benefits.
doi:10.1186/1758-2652-15-1
PMCID: PMC3354658  PMID: 22281054
13.  Pneumocystis pneumonia in South African children diagnosed by molecular methods 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:26.
Background
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is an important cause of hospitalization and mortality in HIV-infected children. However, the incidence of PCP has been underestimated due to poor sensitivity of diagnostic tests. The use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for pneumocystis has enabled more reliable diagnosis. This study describes the incidence, clinical features and outcome of PCP in South African children diagnosed using PCR.
Methods
A prospective study of children hospitalised in South Africa with suspected PCP was done from November 2006 to August 2008. Clinical, laboratory and radiological information were collected. Lower respiratory tract specimens were obtained for PCP immunofluorescence (IF), real- time PCR for pneumocystis, bacterial and mycobacterial culture. Nasopharyngeal aspirates were taken for immunofluorescence (IF), real-time PCR for pneumocystis and PCR for respiratory viruses. A blood specimen for bacterial culture and for cytomegalovirus PCR was taken. Children were followed for the duration of their hospitalisation and the outcome was recorded.
Results
202 children [median (interquartile range, IQR) age 3.2 (2.1– 4.6) months] were enrolled; 124 (61.4%) were HIV infected. PCP was identified in 109 (54%) children using PCR, compared to 43 (21%) using IF and Grocott staining (p < 0.0001). Most PCP cases (88, 81%) occurred in HIV-infected children. All 21 cases (19%) occurring in HIV- negative children had another risk factor for PCP. On logistic regression, predictive factors for PCP were HIV infection, lack of fever, high respiratory rate and low oxygen saturation whilst cotrimoxazole prophylaxis was protective (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.1 to 0.5; p < 0.002). The case fatality of children with PCP was higher than those without PCP (32.1% versus 17.2%; relative risk 1.87; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11 – 3.15). Amongst HIV-infected children, a CD4 less than 15% was the only independent predictor of mortality.
Conclusions
The diagnostic yield for PCP is more than 2.5 times higher on PCR than other detection methods. PCP is a very common cause of severe hypoxic pneumonia and is associated with high mortality in HIV-infected African infants.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-26
PMCID: PMC3892044  PMID: 24410938
Pneumocystis pneumonia; HIV; Children; Prophylaxis; PCR; Diagnosis; Incidence
14.  Pneumocystis Pneumonia in HIV-Infected and Immunocompromised Non-HIV Infected Patients: A Retrospective Study of Two Centers in China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101943.
Background
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is an emerging infectious disease in immunocompromised hosts. However, the clinical characteristics of these patients are poorly understood in mainland China.
Methods
We performed a retrospective study of PCP from 2008 to 2012. Information was collected regarding clinical manifestations, hospitalization, and outcome. A prognostic analysis was performed using a Cox regression model.
Results
151 cases of PCP were included; 46 non-HIV and 105 HIV cases. All-cause mortality (15.2% vs. 12.4%, p = 0.64) and the results of time-to-event analysis (log-rank test, p = 0.62) were similar between non-HIV and HIV infected cases, respectively. From 2008 to 2012, time from admission to initial treatment in non-HIV infected PCP patients showed declining trend [median (range) 20 (9–44) vs. 12 (4–24) vs. 9 (2–23) vs. 7 (2–22) vs. 7 (1–14) days]. A similar trend was observed for all-cause mortality (33.3% vs. 20.0% vs.14.3% vs. 14.3% vs. 6.7%). Patients with four or more of the following clinical manifestations (cough, dyspnea, fever, chest pain, and weight loss) [adjusted HR (AHR) 29.06, 95% CI 2.13–396.36, P = 0.01] and admission to intensive care unit (ICU) [AHR 22.55, 95% CI 1.36–375.06, P = 0.03] were independently associated with all-cause mortality in non-HIV infected PCP patients. Variables associated with mortality in HIV infected PCP patients were admission to ICU (AHR 72.26, 95% CI 11.76–443.87, P<0.001) and albumin ≤30 g/L (AHR 9.93 95% CI 1.69–58.30, P = 0.01).
Conclusions
Upon admission comprehensive clinical assessment including assessment of four or more clinical manifestations (cough, dyspnea, fever, chest pain, and weight loss) in non-HIV infected PCP patients and albumin ≤30 g/L in HIV infected patients might improve prognosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101943
PMCID: PMC4100803  PMID: 25029342
15.  Test Performance of Blood Beta-Glucan for Pneumocystis Jirovecii Pneumonia in Patients with AIDS and Respiratory Symptoms 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(6):967-972.
Objective
To define the test characteristics of plasma beta-glucan for diagnosis of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in AIDS patients with respiratory symptoms.
Design
Analysis of baseline blood samples in a randomized strategy study of patients with acute opportunistic infections, limited to participants with respiratory symptoms.
Methods
Participants in the 282-person ACTG A5164 trial had baseline plasma samples assayed for beta-glucan testing. As part of A5164, two study investigators independently adjudicated the diagnosis of PCP. Respiratory symptoms were identified by investigators from a list of all signs and symptoms with an onset or resolution in the 21 days prior to or 14 days following study entry. Beta-glucan was defined as positive if ≥80 pg/mL and negative if <80 pg/mL.
Results
Of 252 study participants with a beta-glucan result, 159 had at least one respiratory symptom, 139 of whom had a diagnosis of PCP. The sensitivity of beta-glucan for PCP in participants with respiratory symptoms was 92.8% (95% CI: 87.2%–96.5%), and specificity 75.0% (50.9%–91.3%). Among 134 individuals with positive beta-glucan and respiratory symptoms, 129 had PCP, for a positive predictive value of 96.3% (91.5%–98.8%). Fifteen of 25 patients with a normal beta-glucan did not have PCP, for a negative predictive value of 60% (38.7%–78.9%).
Conclusion
Elevated plasma beta-glucan has a high predictive value for diagnosis of PCP in AIDS patients with respiratory symptoms. We propose an algorithm for the use of beta-glucan as a diagnostic tool based on the pretest probability of PCP in such patients.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835cb646
PMCID: PMC4181577  PMID: 23698062
Beta-glucan; HIV; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Pneumocystis; Pneumonia; Predictive Value of Tests
16.  Critical Importance of Long-Term Adherence to Care in HIV Infected Patients in the cART Era: New Insights from Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia Cases over 2004–2011 in the FHDH-ANRS CO4 Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94183.
Objective
To describe characteristics and outcomes of HIV-infected patients with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) over 2004–2011 in France, in particular in those previously enrolled (PE) in the French Hospital Database on HIV (FHDH).
Methods
PE patients with an incident PCP were compared with patients with an inaugural PCP revealing HIV infection (reference). Adequate adherence to care was defined as a CD4 measurement at least every 6 months. Immune reconstitution (CD4≥200/mm3) and risk of death were studied using Kaplan-Meier estimates and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.
Results
In a context of a decreasing incidence of PCP, 1259 HIV-infected patients had a PCP diagnosis, and 593 (47%) were PE patients of whom 161 (27%) have had a prior history of AIDS-defining clinical illness (prior ADI). Median time since enrolment was 8 years for PE patients; 74% had received cART. Median proportion of time with adequate adherence to care was 85% (IQR, 66–96) for all FHDH enrollees, but only 45% (IQR, 1–81) for PE patients during the 2 years before PCP. Median CD4 cell count (38/mm3) and HIV viral load (5.2 log10 copies/ml) at PCP diagnosis did not differ between PE patients and the reference group. Three year mortality rate of 25% was observed for PE prior ADI group, higher than in PE non-prior ADI group (8%) and the reference group (9%) (p<0.0001). In the PE prior ADI group, poor prognosis remained even after adjustment for virological control and immune reconstitution (HR, 2.4 [95%CI, 1.5–3.7]).
Conclusion
Almost 50% of PCP diagnoses in HIV-infected patients occurred presently in patients already in care, mainly with a previous cART prescription but with waning adherence to care. Having repeated ADI is contributing to the risk of death beyond its impact on immune reconstitution and viral suppression: special efforts must be undertaken to maintain those patients in care.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094183
PMCID: PMC3984113  PMID: 24727746
17.  High Prevalence of Dihydropteroate Synthase Mutations in Pneumocystis jirovecii Isolated from Patients with Pneumocystis Pneumonia in South Africa▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(6):2016-2021.
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. Sulfa-containing drugs are used for the treatment and prophylaxis of PCP. Mutations in the P. jirovecii fas gene, which encodes dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS), are associated with prior exposure to sulfa drugs, and their appearance suggests the emergence of variants with reduced sulfa susceptibility. The present study examined the prevalence of DHPS mutations in P. jirovecii strains isolated from South African patients with PCP. P. jirovecii infection was investigated by immunofluorescence microscopy and quantitative real-time PCR with respiratory specimens from 712 patients (93% of whom were >15 years of age) with suspected PCP consecutively received for the detection of P. jirovecii over 1 year. PCR amplification and sequencing of the DHPS fas gene was attempted with DNA from the P. jirovecii-positive samples. P. jirovecii infection was confirmed by immunofluorescence microscopy in 168/712 (24%) of the patients. Carriage of the fungus was revealed by real-time PCR in 17% of the patients with negative microscopy results. The P. jirovecii fas gene was successfully amplified from specimens from 151 patients and sequenced. Mutations resulting in the Thr55Ala and/or Pro57Ser amino acid substitution were detected in P. jirovecii strains from 85/151 (56%) patients. The high frequency of PCP episodes with P. jirovecii harboring DHPS mutations in South Africa indicates that populations of this fungus are evolving under the considerable selective pressure exerted by sulfa-containing antibiotics. These results, similar to previous observations of sulfa drug resistance in bacterial populations, underscore the importance of the rational use of sulfa medications either prophylactically against PCP or for the treatment of other infections.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02004-09
PMCID: PMC2884465  PMID: 20351205
18.  Adjunctive steroid in HIV-negative patients with severe Pneumocystis pneumonia 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):87.
Background
High-dose steroid therapy has been proven effective in AIDS-related Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) but not in non-AIDS-related cases. We evaluated the effects on survival of steroids in HIV-negative patients with PCP.
Methods
Retrospective study patients admitted to the ICU with hypoxemic PCP. We compared patients receiving HDS (≥1 mg/Kg/day prednisone equivalent), low-dose steroids (LDS group, <1 mg/Kg/day prednisone equivalent), and no steroids (NS group). Variables independently associated with ICU mortality were identified.
Results
139 HIV-negative patients with PCP were included. Median age was 48 [40–60] years. The main underlying conditions were hematological malignancies (n=55, 39.6%), cancer (n=11, 7.9%), and solid organ transplantation (n=73, 52.2%). ICU mortality was 26% (36 deaths). The HDS group had 72 (51.8%) patients, the LDS group 35 (25%) patients, and the NS group 32 (23%) patients. Independent predictors of ICU mortality were SAPS II at ICU admission (odds ratio [OR], 1.04/point; [95%CI], 1.01-1.08, P=0.01), non-hematological disease (OR, 4.06; [95%CI], 1.19-13.09, P=0.03), vasopressor use (OR, 20.31; 95%CI, 6.45-63.9, P<0.001), and HDS (OR, 9.33; 95%CI, 1.97-44.3, P=0.02). HDS was not associated with the rate of ICU-acquired infections.
Conclusions
HDS were associated with increased mortality in HIV-negative patients with PCP via a mechanism independent from an increased risk of infection.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-14-87
PMCID: PMC3765749  PMID: 23981859
Pneumocystis jiroveci infection; Immunocompromised host; Mortality
19.  Immune Modulation as Adjunctive Therapy for Pneumocystis pneumonia 
Pneumocystis is an opportunistic fungal respiratory pathogen that causes life-threatening pneumonia (Pcp) in patients suffering from defects in cell-mediated immunity, including those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and immunosuppression secondary to chemotherapy or organ transplantation. Despite major advances in health care, the mortality associated with Pcp has changed little over the past 25  years. Pcp remains a leading cause of death among HIV infected patients, with mortality rates of 50% or higher for patients developing severe Pcp. In addition, as more potent immunosuppressive therapies are developed for chronic inflammatory diseases, more cases of Pcp are occurring in non-HIV patients and in previously unreported clinical settings. These features highlight the importance of developing a better understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease, and the need to search for new therapeutic strategies to improve the outcome of Pcp patients. Immune-mediated inflammatory responses play an important role in the pathogenesis of Pcp, and may be even more significant in determining the outcome of Pcp than direct damage due to the organism itself. In this review we will summarize the immunopathogenic mechanisms that contribute to Pcp-associated lung injury, and discuss the potential to target these pathways for adjunctive immune modulation therapy for Pcp.
doi:10.1155/2011/918038
PMCID: PMC3166570  PMID: 21904545
20.  Genotypes at the Internal Transcribed Spacers of the Nuclear rRNA Operon of Pneumocystis jiroveci in Nonimmunosuppressed Infants without Severe Pneumonia 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(3):1173-1180.
The frequency of Pneumocystis jiroveci (human-derived Pneumocystis) in immunocompetent infants developing acute respiratory syndromes has recently been evaluated and has been shown to be close to 25%. Until now, there have been no data on the genomic characteristics of the fungus in these patients, while molecular typing of P. jiroveci organisms was mostly performed with samples from immunosuppressed patients with pneumocystosis (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia [PCP]). The present report describes the genotypes of P. jiroveci organisms in 26 nonimmunosuppressed infants developing a mild Pneumocystis infection contemporaneously with an episode of bronchioloalveolitis. The typing was based on sequence analysis of internal transcribed spacers (ITSs) 1 and 2 of the rRNA operon, followed by the use of two typing scores. By use of the first score, 11 P. jiroveci ITS types were identified: 10 were previously reported in immunosuppressed patients with PCP, while 1 was newly described. By use of the second score, 13 types were identified, of which 2 were newly described. The most frequent type was identified as type B1a3 (first score), which corresponds to type Eg (second score). Mixed infections were diagnosed in three infants. The occurrence of such diversity of P. jiroveci ITS types, an identical main type, and mixed infections has previously been reported in immunosuppressed patients with PCP. Thus, the P. jiroveci ITS genotypes detected in immunocompetent infants and immunosuppressed patients developing different forms of Pneumocystis infection share characteristics, suggesting that both groups of individuals make up a common human reservoir for the fungus. Finally, the frequency of P. jiroveci in nonimmunosuppressed infants with acute respiratory syndromes and the genotyping results provide evidence that this infant population is an important reservoir for the fungus.
doi:10.1128/JCM.41.3.1173-1180.2003
PMCID: PMC150306  PMID: 12624048
21.  Early Predictors of Mortality from Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia in HIV-Infected Patients: 1985–2006 
Background
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) remains the leading cause of opportunistic infection among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected persons. Previous studies of PCP that identified case-fatality risk factors involved small numbers of patients, were performed over few years, and often focused on patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit.
Objective
The objective of this study was to identify case-fatality risk factors present at or soon after hospitalization among adult HIV-infected patients admitted to University College London Hospitals (London, United Kingdom) from June 1985 through June 2006.
Patients and Methods
We performed a review of case notes for 494 consecutive patients with 547 episodes of laboratory-confirmed PCP.
Results
Overall mortality was 13.5%. Mortality was 10.1% for the period from 1985 through 1989, 16.9% for the period from 1990 through June 1996, and 9.7% for the period from July 1996 through 2006 (P = .142). Multivariate analysis identified factors associated with risk of death, including increasing patient age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11–2.23; P = .011), subsequent episode of PCP (AOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.14–4.52; P = .019), low hemoglobin level at hospital admission (AOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60–0.83; P < .001), low partial pressure of oxygen breathing room air at hospital admission (AOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60–0.81; P < .001), presence of medical comorbidity (AOR, 3.93; 95% CI, 1.77–8.72; P = .001), and pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma (AOR, 6.95; 95% CI, 2.26–21.37; P =.001). Patients with a first episode of PCP were sicker (mean partial pressure of oxygen at admission ± standard deviation, 9.3 ± 2.0 kPa) than those with a second or third episode of PCP (mean partial pressure of oxygen at admission ± standard deviation, 9.9 ± 1.9 kPa; P =.008), but mortality among patients with a first episode of PCP (12.5%) was lower than mortality among patients with subsequent episodes of PCP (22.5%) (P = .019). No patient was receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy before presentation with PCP, and none began highly active antiretroviral therapy during treatment of PCP.
Conclusions
Mortality risk factors for PCP were identifiable at or soon after hospitalization. The trend towards improved outcome after June 1996 occurred in the absence of highly active antiretroviral therapy.
doi:10.1086/526778
PMCID: PMC2735405  PMID: 18190281
22.  HIV: treating Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) 
Clinical Evidence  2008;2008:2501.
Introduction
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a common AIDS-defining opportunistic illness in people with HIV infection, but its incidence has fallen with use of prophylactic treatment. Without treatment, PCP is likely to be fatal in people with AIDS, so placebo-controlled studies would be considered unethical.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of first-line antipneumocystis treatments for Pneumocystis pneumonia in people infected with HIV? What are the effects of adjuvant corticosteroids in people receiving first-line antipneumocystis treatments for Pneumocystis pneumonia in people infected with HIV? What are the effects of treatments for Pneumocystis pneumonia in people infected with HIV who have not responded to first-line antipneumocystis treatment? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to May 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 22 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic, review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: adjuvant corticosteroids; aerosolised or intravenous pentamidine; atovaquone; clindamycin–primaquone; treatment after failure of first-line treatment, trimethoprim–dapsone; and trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole (TMP–SMX, co-trimoxazole).
Key Points
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a common AIDS-defining opportunistic illness in people with HIV infection, but its incidence has fallen with use of prophylactic treatment.
Without treatment, PCP is likely to be fatal in people with AIDS, so placebo-controlled studies would be considered unethical.
Most clinicians consider trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX, co-trimoxazole) to be standard first-line treatment for PCP. TMP-SMX may be more effective than atovaquone, but is more likely to cause adverse effects. Clindamycin–primaquine, trimethoprim–dapsone, and intravenous pentamidine may be as effective as TMP-SMX, with similar adverse-effect rates.Systemic absorption of aerosolised pentamidine is low, so adverse effects are few, but it may be less effective than other treatments in people with severely impaired respiratory function, and is perceived as having a high rate of treatment failure.
Adjuvant corticosteroids reduce mortality when used early in the treatment of moderate to severe PCP, but we don't know whether they are beneficial in mild PCP.
We found no information from RCTs on the effects of treatments in people who have failed to respond to first-line antipneumocystis treatment. We found some evidence that clindamycin–primaquine may be more effective than other treatment options in people who have failed to respond to first-line antipneumocystis treatment, but we found no high-quality studies.
PMCID: PMC2907978  PMID: 19445734
23.  Comparison of community-acquired pneumonia requiring admission to hospital in HIV-and non-HIV-infected patients 
OBJECTIVE:
To compare community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in hospitalized human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with that in hospitalized non-HIV-infected patients by assessing presenting characteristics, etiology and outcomes.
DESIGN:
Retrospective chart review.
SETTING:
A tertiary care centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
POPULATION STUDIED:
Thirty-two HIV-infected patients requiring hospitalization for treatment of CAP were identified from September 1991 to October 1993 and compared with 33 age-matched non-HIV-infected patients who presented with pneumonia during the same period.
MAIN RESULTS:
The two populations were comparable in age, sex and race. Fifty per cent of the HIV-infected and 20.8% of the non-HIV-infected patients had had a previous episode of pneumonia. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) accounted for 16 of the 32 episodes of CAP in the HIV-infected patients, while none of the non-HIV-infected patients had PCP. Pneumonia secondary to Streptococcus pneumoniae was more common in the non-HIV-infected patients (five versus one, P=0.02). Vital signs and initial PO2 did not differ between the two groups. White blood cell count was lower at admission for the HIV population (5.7×109/L versus 12.7×109/L, P=0.003). The HIV patients were more likely to undergo bronchoscopy (27.7% versus 0%, P<0.001). The length of stay in hospital, transfer to the intensive care unit and necessity for intubation were the same for both groups. The in-hospital mortality for HIV-infected patients was eight of 32 (25%) while for the non-HIV-infected patients it was none of 33 (P=0.002).
CONCLUSIONS:
Patients with HIV infection who present with CAP are more likely to have PCP, to have had a past episode of pneumonia and to die while in hospital than age- and sex-matched non-HIV-infected patients with CAP.
PMCID: PMC3327412  PMID: 22514448
Community-acquired pneumonia; Human immunodeficiency virus infection; Hospitalization
24.  Detection of Pneumocystis DNA in samples from patients suspected of bacterial pneumonia- a case-control study 
Background
Pneumocystis jiroveci (formerly known as P. carinii f.sp. hominis) is an opportunistic fungus that causes Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in immunocompromised individuals. Pneumocystis jiroveci can be detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). To investigate the clinical importance of a positive Pneumocystis-PCR among HIV-uninfected patients suspected of bacterial pneumonia, a retrospective matched case-control study was conducted.
Methods
Respiratory samples from 367 patients suspected of bacterial pneumonia were analysed by PCR amplification of Pneumocystis jiroveci. To compare clinical factors associated with carriage of P. jiroveci, a case-control study was done. For each PCR-positive case, four PCR-negative controls, randomly chosen from the PCR-negative patients, were matched on sex and date of birth.
Results
Pneumocystis-DNA was detected in 16 (4.4%) of patients. The median age for PCR-positive patients was higher than PCR-negative patients (74 vs. 62 years, p = 0.011). PCR-positive cases had a higher rate of chronic or severe concomitant illness (15 (94%)) than controls (32 (50%)) (p = 0.004). Twelve (75%) of the 16 PCR positive patients had received corticosteroids, compared to 8 (13%) of the 64 PCR-negative controls (p < 0.001).
Detection of Pneumocystis-DNA was associated with a worse prognosis: seven (44%) of patients with positive PCR died within one month compared to nine (14%) of the controls (p = 0.01). None of the nine PCR-positive patients who survived had developed PCP at one year of follow-up.
Conclusions
Our data suggest that carriage of Pneumocystis jiroveci is associated with old age, concurrent disease and steroid treatment. PCR detection of P. jiroveci has low specificity for diagnosing PCP among patients without established immunodeficiency. Whether overt infection is involved in the poorer prognosis or merely reflects sub-clinical carriage is not clear. Further studies of P. jiroveci in patients receiving systemic treatment with corticosteroids are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-2-28
PMCID: PMC139972  PMID: 12445330
25.  Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia in Tropical and Low and Middle Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e69969.
Objective
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), the commonest opportunistic infection in HIV-infected patients in the developed world, is less commonly described in tropical and low and middle income countries (LMIC). We sought to investigate predictors of PCP in these settings.
Design
Systematic review and meta-regression.
Methods
Meta-regression of predictors of PCP diagnosis (33 studies). Qualitative and quantitative assessment of recorded CD4 counts, receipt of prophylaxis and antiretrovirals, sensitivity and specificity of clinical signs and symptoms for PCP, co-infection with other pathogens, and case fatality (117 studies).
Results
The most significant predictor of PCP was per capita Gross Domestic Product, which showed strong linear association with odds of PCP diagnosis (p<0.0001). This was not explained by study design or diagnostic quality. Geographical area, population age, study setting and year of study also contributed to risk of PCP. Co-infection was common (444 episodes/1425 PCP cases), frequently with virulent organisms. The predictive value of symptoms, signs or simple tests in LMIC settings for diagnosis of PCP was poor. Case fatality was >30%; treatment was largely appropriate. Prophylaxis appeared to reduce the risk for development of PCP, however 24% of children with PCP were receiving prophylaxis. CD4 counts at presentation with PCP were usually <200×103/ml.
Conclusions
There is a positive relationship between GDP and risk of PCP diagnosis. Although failure to diagnose infection in poorer countries may contribute to this, we also hypothesise that poverty exposes at-risk patients to a wide range of infections and that the relatively non-pathogenic P. jirovecii is therefore under-represented. As LMIC develop economically they eliminate the conditions underlying transmission of virulent infection: P. jirovecii, ubiquitous in all settings, then becomes a greater relative threat.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069969
PMCID: PMC3732248  PMID: 23936365

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