In recent years, clusters of Pneumocystis jirovecii (formerly Pneumocystis carinii) pneumonia (PCP) among immunocompromised individuals have been reported. Mostly, the source of infections was suspected to be within the clinical settings when transplant recipients and PCP patients shared hospital facilities. We report on a cluster of 16 renal transplant recipients positive for P. jirovecii. None of them received anti-Pneumocystis prophylaxis prior to P. jirovecii detection. Epidemiological studies revealed that 15 of them had received kidney transplants at a German university hospital and attended the same inpatient and outpatient clinic from January through September 2006. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) was performed on the following genes: ITS1, β-tub, 26S, and mt26S. P. jirovecii DNA was available from 14 patients and showed identical MLST types among these renal transplant recipients. Surprisingly, one patient who was treated at a different nephrological center and reported no personal contact with patients from the renal transplantation cluster harbored an identical P. jirovecii MLST type. Three HIV-positive patients and one bone-marrow-transplanted hematologic malignancy patient—treated at different medical centers—were used as controls, and different MLST types were revealed. Interestingly, in three of the four previously described regions, new alleles were detected, and one new polymorphism was observed in the mt26S region. The epidemiological data and the genotyping results strongly suggest a nosocomial patient-to-patient transmission of P. jirovecii as the predominant transmission route. Therefore, strict segregation and isolation of P. jirovecii-positive/suspected patients in clinical settings seems warranted.
Accompanying the increased use of biologic and non-biologic antirheumatic agents, patients with RA have been exposed to an increased risk of Pneumocystis jirovecii infection, which causes acute fulminant P. jirovecii pneumonia (PCP). Mortality in this population is higher than in HIV-infected individuals. Several guidelines and recommendations for HIV-infected individuals are available; however, such guidelines for RA patients remain less clear. Between 2006 and 2008 we encountered a clustering event of P. jirovecii infection among RA outpatients. Through our experience with this outbreak and a review of the recent medical literature regarding asymptomatic colonization and its clinical significance, transmission modes of infection and prophylaxis of PCP, we have learned the following lessons: PCP outbreaks among RA patients can occur through person-to-person transmission in outpatient facilities; asymptomatic carriers serve as reservoirs and sources of infection; and short-term prophylaxis for eradication of P. jirovecii is effective in controlling PCP outbreaks among RA outpatients.
Pneumocystis jirovecii; rheumatoid arthritis; colonization; transmission; outbreaks; prophylaxis
Pneumocystis jirovecii causes Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in immunocompromised patients with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. Colonization with this fungus may stimulate pulmonary inflammation or lead to PCP in susceptible patients. The epidemiology of this infection and routs of its transmission has poorly studied in Iran. We examined Pneumosystis colonization in patients with various lung underlying diseases.
Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids of 458 patients with different underlying diseases or pulmonary signs were collected between August 2010 and January 2012. Patients were divided into four groups: transplant recipients, malignant patients, immunosuppressive drug recipients and patients with other different lung diseases. A sensitive nested-PCR method targeted 18S ribosomal RNA gene was used for investigating P. jirovecii in the specimens.
P. jirovecii DNA was detected in 57 out of 458 (12.5%) BAL samples by nested-PCR. Colonization rate in malignant patients, transplant recipients, immunosuppressive therapy recipients and patients with other various lung diseases was 21.7%, 20.3%, 12.7% and 7.3%, respectively. The enzyme BanI cuts all PCR products producing fragments with the size of 228 and 104 base pair. This finding as well as sequencing of four random positive samples validated and reconfirmed the PCR results. P. jirovecii cysts were found in 5 out of 57 PCR positive samples.
A significant number of patients with pulmonary diseases were colonized by P. jirovecii that can develop to PCP in these patients or they may transmit the fungus to other susceptible patients.
Pneumocystis jirovecii; Pneumocystis pneumonia; Colonization; Nested-PCR
To date, investigations of Pneumocystis jiroveci circulation in the human reservoir through the dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) locus analysis have only been conducted by examining P. jirovecii isolates from immunosuppressed patients with Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). Our study identifies P. jirovecii genotypes at this locus in 33 immunocompetent infants colonized with P. jirovecii contemporaneously with a bronchiolitis episode and in 13 adults with PCP; both groups of patients were monitored in Amiens, France. The results have pointed out identical features of P. jirovecii DHPS genotypes in the two groups, suggesting that in these two groups, transmission cycles of P. jirovecii infections are linked. If these two groups represent sentinel populations for P. jirovecii infections, our results suggest that all persons parasitized by P. jirovecii, whatever their risk factor for infection and the form of parasitism they have, act as interwoven circulation networks of P. jirovecii.
Pneumocystis; human; infant; bronchiolitis; reservoir; circulation; transmission; dihydropteroate synthase; polymerase chain reaction; restriction fragment length polymorphism
We review studies of dihydropteroate synthase gene mutations in Pneumocystis jirovecii and summarize the evidence for resistance to sulfamethoxazole and dapsone.
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) remains a major cause of illness and death in HIV-infected persons. Sulfa drugs, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) and dapsone are mainstays of PCP treatment and prophylaxis. While prophylaxis has reduced the incidence of PCP, its use has raised concerns about development of resistant organisms. The inability to culture human Pneumocystis, Pneumocystis jirovecii, in a standardized culture system prevents routine susceptibility testing and detection of drug resistance. In other microorganisms, sulfa drug resistance has resulted from specific point mutations in the dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) gene. Similar mutations have been observed in P. jirovecii. Studies have consistently demonstrated a significant association between the use of sulfa drugs for PCP prophylaxis and DHPS gene mutations. Whether these mutations confer resistance to TMP-SMX or dapsone plus trimethoprim for PCP treatment remains unclear. We review studies of DHPS mutations in P. jirovecii and summarize the evidence for resistance to sulfamethoxazole and dapsone.
perspective, Pneumocystis, Pneumocystis jirovecii, pneumonia, Pneumocystis, dihydropteroate synthase, dihydrofolate reductase, mutation, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, dapsone; drug resistance, microbial
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pneumocystis jirovecii is the causative agent of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in immunocompromised persons. Knowledge of the transmission and epidemiology of PCP is still incipient, and investigations on these subjects are based exclusively on applications of molecular typing techniques. The polymorphic internal transcribed spacers ITS1 and ITS2 in the ribosomal DNA operon, which in the P. jirovecii genome exist as single-copy DNA, are commonly used as target loci for isolate typing. In the course of genotyping P. jirovecii in respiratory specimens from PCP patients by amplification and cloning of a large number of ITS sequences, we found mixed infections (two or more types) in 50% of the samples. In a majority of the specimens with mixed infections, we detected many ITS haplotypes (combinations of ITS1 and ITS2 types) that appeared to be products of recombination between globally common ITS haplotypes present in the same sample. Here we present results of a series of experiments showing that essentially all ITS recombinants are chimeras formed during the genotyping process. Under standard conditions, as many as 37% of the amplified sequences could be hybrid DNA artifacts. We show that by modifying PCR amplification conditions, ITS chimera formation could be largely abolished and the erroneous establishment of artifactual haplotypes avoided. The accurate assessment of genetic diversity is fundamental for a better understanding of the epidemiology and biology of P. jirovecii infections.
Pneumocystis jirovecii remains an important cause of fatal pneumonia (Pneumocystis pneumonia or PcP) in HIV+ patients and other immunocompromised hosts. Despite many previous attempts, a clinically useful serologic test for P. jirovecii infection has never been developed.
We analyzed serum antibody responses to the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein recombinant fragment C1 (MsgC1) in 110 HIV+ patients with active PcP (cases) and 63 HIV+ patients with pneumonia due to other causes (controls) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The cases had significantly higher IgG and IgM antibody levels to MsgC1 than the controls at hospital admission (week 0) and intervals up to at least 1 month thereafter. The sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) of IgG antibody levels increased from 57.2%, 61.7% and 71.5% at week 0 to 63.4%, 100%, and 100%, respectively, at weeks 3–4. The sensitivity, specificity and PPV of IgM antibody levels rose from 59.7%, 61.3%, and 79.3% at week 0 to 74.6%, 73.7%, and 89.8%, respectively, at weeks 3–4. Multivariate analysis revealed that a diagnosis of PcP was the only independent predictor of high IgG and IgM antibody levels to MsgC1. A high LDH level, a nonspecific marker of lung damage, was an independent predictor of low IgG antibody levels to MsgC1.
The results suggest that the ELISA shows promise as an aid to the diagnosis of PCP in situations where diagnostic procedures cannot be performed. Further studies in other patient populations are needed to better define the usefulness of this serologic test.
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.
Systematic review and meta-regression.
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).
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.
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.
Despite the effectiveness of prophylaxis, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) continues to be the most common serious opportunistic infection among HIV-infected persons. We describe factors associated with nonadherence to primary PCP prophylaxis.
We used 2000–2004 data from the Supplement to HIV/AIDS Surveillance (SHAS) project, a cross-sectional interview project of HIV-infected persons ≥18 years conducted in 18 states. We limited the analysis to persons who denied having prior PCP, reported having a current prescription to prevent PCP, and answered the question “In the past 30 days, how often were you able to take the PCP medication(s) exactly the way your doctor told you to take them?” We used multivariable logistic regression to describe factors associated with nonadherence. Of 1,666 subjects prescribed PCP prophylaxis, 305 (18.3%) were nonadherent. Persons were more likely to be nonadherent if they reported using marijuana (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–2.4), non-injection drugs other than marijuana (aOR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.0–2.1), or injection drugs (aOR = 2.3, 95% CI = 1.3–4.1) in the past year; their mental health was “not good” for ≥1 day during the past month (aOR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.2–2.2); their most recent CD4 count was <200 cells/μL (aOR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.1–2.2); or taking ART usually (aOR = 9.6, 95% CI = 6.7–13.7) or sometimes/rarely/never (aOR = 18.4, 95% CI = 11.1–30.4), compared with always, as prescribed.
Providers should inquire about and promote strategies to improve adherence to PCP prophylaxis, particularly among persons who use illicit drugs, have mental health issues, and who are not compliant with ART to reduce the occurrence of PCP.
Despite a decline in incidence of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), severe PCP continues to be a common cause of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) where mortality remains high. A study was undertaken to examine the outcome from intensive care for patients with PCP and to identify prognostic factors.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted of HIV infected adults admitted to a university affiliated hospital ICU between November 1990 and October 2005. Case note review collected information on demographic variables, use of prophylaxis and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and hospital course. The main outcome was 1 month mortality, either on the ICU or in hospital.
Fifty nine patients were admitted to the ICU on 60 occasions. Thirty four patients (57%) required mechanical ventilation. Overall mortality was 53%. No patient received HAART before or during ICU admission. Multivariate analysis showed that the factors associated with mortality were the year of diagnosis (before mid 1996 (mortality 71%) compared with later (mortality 34%; p = 0.008)), age (p = 0.016), and the need for mechanical ventilation and/or development of pneumothorax (p = 0.031). Mortality was not associated with sex, ethnicity, prior receipt of sulpha prophylaxis, haemoglobin, serum albumin, CD4 count, Pao2, A‐ao2 gradient, co‐pathology in bronchoscopic lavage fluid, medical co‐morbidity, APACHE II score, or duration of mechanical ventilation.
Observed improved outcomes from severe PCP for patients admitted to the ICU occurred in the absence of intervention with HAART and probably reflect general improvements in ICU management of respiratory failure and ARDS rather than improvements in the management of PCP.
AIDS; intensive care; mechanical ventilation;
; opportunistic infections; respiratory failure
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.
Pneumocystis jirovecii is an important opportunistic infection in HIV-infected patients. In the developed world, P. jirovecii epidemiology is marked by frequent colonization in immunosuppressed patients, but data on the prevalence of colonization is very limited in sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of persons living with HIV reside. Our objective was to describe the epidemiology of P. jirovecii colonization among HIV-positive patients in a cross-sectional, hospital-based study of patients admitted with suspected pneumonia in Kampala, Uganda. P. jirovecii was detectable in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from 7 of 124 (6%) consecutive patients with non-Pneumocystis pneumonia. Colonization was not associated with patient demographic or clinical information. This prevalence is substantially lower than in published studies in the developed world, and suggests that there is a limited reservoir of organisms for clinical infections in this Ugandan population. These findings may partially explain the low incidence of Pneumocystis pneumonia in Uganda and other sub-Saharan African countries.
Pneumocystis jirovecii; colonization; pneumonia; AIDS
HIV viral load (VL) is currently not part of the criteria for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis discontinuation, but suppression of plasma viremia with antiretroviral therapy may allow for discontinuation of PCP prophylaxis even with CD4 count <200 cells/µL.
A systematic review was performed to determine the incidence of PCP in HIV-infected individuals with CD4 count <200 cells/µL and fully suppressed VL on antiretroviral therapy but not receiving PCP prophylaxis.
Four articles examined individuals who discontinued PCP prophylaxis with CD4 count <200 cells/µL in the context of fully suppressed VL on antiretroviral therapy. The overall incidence of PCP was 0.48 cases per 100 person-years (PY) (95% confidence interval (CI) (0.06–0.89). This was lower than the incidence of PCP in untreated HIV infection (5.30 cases/100 PY, 95% CI 4.1–6.8) and lower than the incidence in persons with CD4 count <200 cells/µL, before the availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), who continued prophylaxis (4.85/100 PY, 95% CI 0.92–8.78). In one study in which individuals were stratified according to CD4 count <200 cells/µL, there was a greater risk of PCP with CD4 count ≤100 cells/µL compared to 101–200 cells/µL.
Primary PCP prophylaxis may be safely discontinued in HIV-infected individuals with CD4 count between 101–200 cells/µL provided the VL is fully suppressed on antiretroviral therapy. However, there are inadequate data available to make this recommendation when the CD4 count is ≤100 cells/µL. A revision of guidelines on primary PCP prophylaxis to include consideration of the VL is merited.
After an increase in the number of reported cases of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in England, we investigated data from 2000–2010 to verify the increase. We analyzed national databases for microbiological and clinical diagnoses of P. jirovecii pneumonia and associated deaths. We found that laboratory-confirmed cases in England had increased an average of 7% per year and that death certifications and hospital admissions also increased. Hospital admissions indicated increased P. jirovecii pneumonia diagnoses among patients not infected with HIV, particularly among those who had received a transplant or had a hematologic malignancy. A new risk was identified: preexisting lung disease. Infection rates among HIV-positive adults decreased. The results confirm that diagnoses of potentially preventable P. jirovecii pneumonia among persons outside the known risk group of persons with HIV infection have increased. This finding warrants further characterization of risk groups and a review of P. jirovecii pneumonia prevention strategies.
Pneumocystis jirovecii; England; surveillance; pneumonia; P. jirovecii pneumonia; fungi; respiratory infections
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.
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.
Several typing methods, with different strengths and weaknesses, are available for studies of Pneumocystis pneumonia.
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) caused by the opportunistic fungal agent Pneumocystis jirovecii (formerly P. carinii) continues to cause illness and death in HIV-infected patients. In the absence of a culture system to isolate and maintain live organisms, efforts to type and characterize the organism have relied on polymerase chain reaction–based approaches. Studies using these methods have improved understanding of PCP epidemiology, shedding light on sources of infection, transmission patterns, and potential emergence of antimicrobial resistance. One concern, however, is the lack of guidance regarding the appropriateness of different methods and standardization of these methods, which would facilitate comparing results reported by different laboratories.
Pneumocystis; PCP; molecular epidemiology; typing methods; perspective
Pneumocystis jirovecii is the opportunistic fungal organism that causes Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in humans. Similar to other opportunistic pathogens, Pneumocystis causes disease in individuals who are immunocompromised, particularly those infected with HIV. PCP remains the most common opportunistic infection in patients with AIDS. Incidence has decreased greatly with the advent of HAART. However, an increase in the non-HIV immunocompromised population, noncompliance with current treatments, emergence of drug-resistant strains and rise in HIV+ cases in developing countries makes Pneumocystis a pathogen of continued interest and a public health threat. A great deal of research interest has addressed therapeutic interventions to boost waning immunity in the host to prevent or treat PCP. This article focuses on research conducted during the previous 5 years regarding the host immune response to Pneumocystis, including innate, cell-mediated and humoral immunity, and associated immunotherapies tested against PCP.
adaptive immunity; chemokine; cytokine; fungal; HAART; HIV+; inflammatory response; innate immunity; Pneumocystis pneumonia
We describe an outbreak of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in a pediatric renal transplant unit, likely attributable to patient-to-patient transmission. Single-strand conformation polymorphism molecular typing showed that 3 affected patients had acquired the same 2 strains of Pneumocystis, which suggests interhuman infection. An infant with mitochondriopathy was the probable index patient.
Pneumocystis jirovecii; pneumonia; PCP; pediatric renal transplantation; single-strand conformation polymorphism; inter-human transmission; dispatch
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.
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.
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.
By restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis, 2 outbreaks of Pneumocystis pneumonia in renal transplant patients in Europe were shown to be caused by the same strain of Pneumocystis; another outbreak in Japan was caused by a different strain.
Background. There have been numerous reports of clustered outbreaks of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) at renal transplant centers over the past 2 decades. It has been unclear whether these outbreaks were linked epidemiologically to 1 or several unique strains, which could have implications for transmission patterns or strain virulence.
Methods. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis was used to compare Pneumocystis isolates from 3 outbreaks of PCP in renal transplant patients in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan, as well as nontransplant isolates from both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and uninfected patients.
Results. Based on RFLP analysis, a single Pneumocystis strain caused pneumonia in transplant patients in Switzerland (7 patients) and Germany (14 patients). This strain was different from the strain that caused an outbreak in transplant patients in Japan, as well as strains causing sporadic cases of PCP in nontransplant patients with or without HIV infection.
Conclusions. Two geographically distinct clusters of PCP in Europe were due to a single strain of Pneumocystis. This suggests either enhanced virulence of this strain in transplant patients or a common, but unidentified, source of transmission. Outbreaks of PCP can be better understood by enhanced knowledge of transmission patterns and strain variation.