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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 Nov;32(11):1393-400. doi: 10.1007/s10096-013-1886-9. Epub 2013 May 7.

Leukemia and risk of recurrent Escherichia coli bacteremia: genotyping implicates E. coli translocation from the colon to the bloodstream.

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Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, Gdańsk University of Medicine, Gdańsk, Poland.


In patients with leukemia, the portal(s) and reasons for the persistence of an Escherichia coli recurrent bacteremia remain unclear. Adult Hematology Clinic (AHC) databases at the State Clinical Hospital in Gdańsk were reviewed to evaluate the frequency of E. coli bacteremia between 2002 and 2005. Blood and bowel E. coli strains were obtained and the genetic relatedness of the strains was analyzed. The rate of E. coli bacteremia per 1,000 admissions at the AHC was higher (85.0) than in the other clinics of the hospital (2.9), p < 0.001. A higher mortality was observed in patients with a history of E. coli versus non-E. coli bacteremia [30/95 (31 %) vs. 53/430 (12 %), p < 0.001]; 72.8 % of patients with leukemia had an unknown source of bacteremia. In 2005, 6 out of 25 (24 %) patients with leukemia had ≥2 episodes of E. coli-positive blood cultures. These gastrointestinal E. coli isolates were replaced within 3-8 weeks with a new E. coli H genotype. A recurrent episode of bacteremia was usually caused by an infection with a transient E. coli H genotype identical to that found in the subject's bowel. Consistent with the definition of bowel/blood translocation, the bowel appeared to be a portal for E. coli in these subjects and, hence, a clear source for their recurring bacteremia.

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