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Eur J Epidemiol. 2004;19(4):383-9.

Nocardial infections in Japan from 1992 to 2001, including the first report of infection by Nocardia transvalensis.

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Research Center for Pathogenic Fungi and Microbial Toxicoses, Chiba University, 1-8-1, Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, Japan.


In the period from 1992 to 2001, 303 cases of nocardioses were diagnosed in Japan, with the corresponding etiological agents isolated and characterized. Taxonomic analyses of these 303 strains showed that most nocardial infections were caused by members of the Nocardia asteroides group (72.3%). Speciation showed that 72 strains were N. asteroides, 31 strains were N. cyriacigeorgica, 2 strains were N. beijingensis, 81 strains were N. farcinica, and 33 strains were N. nova. Sixty-six strains of N. brasiliensis were the next most prevalent species of the total Nocardia isolates, followed by 14 strains of N. otitidiscaviarum. Infections by N. transvalensis (3 strains) and N. pseudobrasiliensis (1 strain) were also confirmed. The infections due to N. transvalensis, N. cyriacigeorgica, and N. beijingensis were the first reported in Japan. The most common factor that predisposed individuals to nocardial infection in Japan was therapy by immunosuppressive agents (22.4%), including SLE therapy (3.6%), followed by cancer (6.6%), diabetes (3.6%) and AIDS (2.0%). Nocardial infections occurred more commonly in the elderly, with most of the patients between the ages of 61 and 80 years of age. No significant difference regarding infectivity levels between the sexes was observed.

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