Tags: Pneumonia

Intestinal Nematode Infections

Worldwide, more than 1 billion people are infested with Ascaris lumbricoides, the causative agent of ascariasis or roundworm. More than 4 million people are estimated to be infected in the United States. Infection occurs predominately in the southeastern states and more commonly in younger children, and it is associated with lower socioeconomic status. The organism is acquired through ingestion of embryonic forms of the worm, which are found in fecally contaminated soil.

Non-falciparum Malaria (P Vivax, P Ovale, P Malariae)

Patients with nonfalciparum malaria invariably develop fever and chills that may become cyclic. Initially, patients experience chills, which are followed by fever (Box 1). Patients with malaria often manifest many nonspecific symptoms such as weakness, malaise, headache, and myalgias. As the disease progresses, signs of anemia, such as pale conjunctiva, may be seen.

Pneumocystis Carinii

In 1983, P carinii pneumonia (PCP) was described as the AIDS-defining illness in = 60% of the first 1000 patients diagnosed with AIDS in the United States. Subsequently, the advent of prophylactic measures has reduced the incidence of PCP presenting as the initial diagnosis for AIDS to < 50% of cases. In addition, the hospitalization rate is also declining for patients with AIDS who also have PCP. This decline has presumably been caused by successful use of prophylaxis against the organism.

Extrapulmonary P Carinii Infections

Extrapulmonary P carinii infections occur in < 3% of patients and must be diagnosed with histopathologic samples. Primary prophylaxis for PCP with pentamidine may confer a higher risk for extrapulmonary infection. Symptoms of extrapulmonary involvement are nonspecific, usually consisting of fevers, chills, and sweats.

Aspergillus, Pseudallescheria, & Agents of Mucormycosis

Aspergillus spp. are found worldwide and grow in a variety of conditions. They commonly grow in soil and moist locations and are among the most common molds encountered on spoiled food and decaying vegetation, in compost piles, and in stored hay and grain. Aspergillus spp. often grow in houseplant soil, and such soil may be a source of Aspergillus conidia or spores in the home, office, or hospital setting. The airborne conidia are extremely heat resistant and can withstand extreme environmental conditions.

Cryptococcus Neoformans

Cryptococcus neoformans exists as two distinct varieties known as variety neoformans and variety gattii (Table 1). Cryptococcus neoformans variety neoformans exists throughout the world and is found frequently in pigeon droppings that have accumulated over time. The concentrations of these organisms are often quite high in old pigeon droppings found in barns, on window ledges, and around the upper floors of old buildings. Pigeons carrying the organism do not seem to be clinically affected, and wet or fresh droppings rarely contain C neoformans.

Candida Species

Candida organisms are commensal with humans and, in the absence of alterations in host defense mechanisms, usually do not cause disease. Candida exists as normal flora within the oral cavity, throughout the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, in expectorated sputum, in the vagina, and in the bladder of patients with indwelling catheters. There are >150 species within the genus Candida, although the majority are not known to cause disease in humans. C albicans, C krusei, C glabrata, C tropicalis, C pseudotropicalis, C guilliermondii, C parapsilosis, C lusitaniae, and C rugosa are known human pathogens.

Coccidioides

Coccidioidomycosis was first described as a disease a little more than a century ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was in San Francisco that the organism causing the clinical disease was given its name, Coccidioides immitis. Many diseases were later found to be caused by this organism, including San Joaquin Valley Fever.