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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2001 Feb;36(2):220-4.

Yersinia enterocolitica infection with multiple liver abscesses uncovering a primary hemochromatosis.

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Dept. of Medicine, Institute of Pathology, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Germany.


A 60-year-old man, although treated with antibiotics, suffered from a severe pyrexial illness of unknown origin, weight loss and intermittent abdominal pain. There was no history of diarrhea or common infections. Computed tomography and ultrasound imaging showed uncharacteristic multiple small lesions of the entire liver parenchyma. These lesions were histologically pyogenic abscesses. In addition, an unexpected, pronounced accumulation of iron pigment in hepatocytes and second degree fibrotic changes of the liver were detected. Serum iron and serum transferrin were low, but serum ferritin concentration and transferrin saturation were increased to the maximum. The demonstration of the cysteine-282-tyrosine mutation confirmed underlying primary hemochromatosis. Bacteriological cultures of the abscess material yielded Yersinia enterocolitica serotype O:3, while stool and blood cultures were negative. Antibiotic therapy with piperacillin/tazobactam and tobramycin was successful within a few days. A repeat CT scan and ultrasound imaging demonstrated complete regression of the pathologic liver morphology. The patient was discharged and treated with an orally administered fluoroquinolone for an additional 6 months. After this time the patient had no morphological residues of the infection except one enlarged lymph node near the portal vein but still was so weak that he was unable to work again. In conclusion, severe septic forms of yersiniosis are mainly found in patients with iron overload, due to a handicapped iron metabolism of the Yersinia bacteria. Mortality is high despite treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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