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Clin Infect Dis. 2003 Mar 1;36(5):575-9. Epub 2003 Feb 7.

Klebsiella infection in patients with thalassemia.

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Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.


Klebsiella infection has previously been reported in a few patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia. The incidence and clinical spectrum of this infection in our cohort of patients were reviewed retrospectively. Among 160 patients observed for 12 years, there were 15 episodes of Klebsiella infection that occurred in 12 patients (7.5%), resulting in an incidence of 0.78 infections per 100 patient-years. The clinical spectrum included sinusitis (4 cases), intracranial infection (5 cases), septicemia (4 cases), and abscesses of the liver, lung, kidney, and parotid gland (1 case each). Three patients had recurrent infections involving different sites, 2 (16%) died of fulminant septicemia, and 3 (25%) had significant permanent neurological deficits. The antibiotic susceptibility pattern for the isolates was similar to the pattern for isolates recovered in the community. With regard to predisposing factors, iron overload and liver function derangement were found to be significant on univariate analysis (P=.046 and P=.049, respectively) but insignificant on multivariate analysis. Klebsiella infection was a serious and frequently encountered complication in our patients with transfusion-dependent thalassemia, resulting in high mortality and morbidity rates.

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