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Infection. 1990 May-Jun;18(3):138-45.

Streptococcal bacteremia in adult patients with leukemia undergoing aggressive chemotherapy. A review of 55 cases.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Ulm University Hospital, FR Germany.


We reviewed 55 cases of streptococcal bacteremia in adult patients who received cytotoxic chemotherapy for treatment of acute leukemia. Viridans group streptococci were the most frequent species isolated (45 isolates). Hemolytic streptococci (four isolates), pneumococci (three isolates), and enterococci (three isolates) were infrequent. Clinical features of streptococcal bacteremia included fever, upper and lower respiratory infection, respiratory distress syndrome, soft tissue infection, and septic shock. Forty patients who had only streptococci, but no other organisms isolated from their blood, were compared with 36 cases of gram-negative bacillary bacteremia that occurred during the same study period within the same population at risk. The comparison showed that patients with streptococcal bacteremia had more often received high dose cytosine arabinoside as part of their chemotherapy (17 vs. five), had a longer mean duration of fever (11 vs. seven days, p less than 0.01) needed slightly more days of antibacterial therapy (15 vs. 12 days, p = 0.07, not significant), and were more likely to have been treated with newer quinolones for infection prevention (30 vs. eight). No differences between both groups were found for age, underlying disease, remission status, duration of severe granulocytopenia, and number of superinfections. The overall mortality was 18% in streptococcal bacteremia and 17% in gram-negative bacillary bacteremia. Streptococci, especially viridans group streptococci, should now be regarded as frequent causes of serious life-threatening infections following aggressive chemotherapy in patients with hematologic malignancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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