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Infection Due to Corynebacterium Species in Marrow Transplant Patients

WALTER E. STAMM, M.D.; LUCY S. TOMPKINS, M.D.; KENNETH F. WAGNER, M.D.; GEORGE W. COUNTS, M.D.; E. DONNALL THOMAS, M.D.; and JOEL D. MEYERS, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: Dr. Thomas is a recipient of a Research Career Award AI 02425 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This investigation was supported by Grants CA 18029 and CA 15704 from the National Cancer Institute and Grant AI 07044 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

This paper was presented in part at the meeting of the American Federation for Clinical Research, San Francisco, California, May 1978.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Joel D. Meyers, MD.; Division of Infectious Diseases, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1124 Columbia Street; Seattle, WA 98104.


Seattle, Washington


© 1979 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1979;91(2):167-173. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-91-2-167
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A Corynebacterium species consistently resistant to all antibiotic therapy except vancomycin caused bacteremia in 32 of 284 (11%) marrow transplant patients. Twenty-one patients had colonization or infection before bacteremia. Twenty-six of the 32 patients were males, and males older than 16 years were infected significantly more often than females over 16, or than all patients under 16. A case-control study showed that infected patients had greater exposure to antibiotics; more often had failure of engraftment and persistent granulocytopenia; were in laminar air-flow rooms less often; and had greater inhospital mortality. Cultural surveillance showed that 17 of 42 marrow transplant patients were colonized with Corynebacterium species. Likelihood of colonization appeared related to age, sex, and duration of hospitalization. Prevalence of colonization in other populations was 1% in nonhospitalized healthy adults and 13% in adults in a general hospital. Corynebacterium species infections occur primarily in adult males with granulocytopenia, mucocutaneous defects, and receiving intensive antibiotic therapy.

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