Clinical Features and Outcomes of Fusobacterium Species Infections in a Ten-Year Follow-up
PURPOSE Fusobacterium species infections are rare. Recently, however, this potentially deadly pathogen has been attracting interest, and efforts are being made to characterise its epidemiology and clinical spectrum of disease. The aim of our study is to provide further evidence towards this cause, in what is, to date, the largest study of its kind from the UK. METHOD A 22-year, retrospective, descriptive study was performed at Royal Hampshire County Hospital. An electronic database was used to identify patients with microbiologically confirmed infection with Fusobacterium, and clinical records were examined to provide further information on the presentation, source, treatment and outcome. RESULTS Fusobacterium species infections were identified in 18 patients during the study period, which is an incidence of 0.76 cases/100,000/year. The overall death rate was 29 %. Half of these patients had Fusobacterium necrophorum infections and were a predominantly young, fit and uniquely male population who had excellent outcomes. Among the remaining patients with Fusobacterium species infections, 22 % had infection with F. varium and 11 % with F. nucleatum. These patients were an older cohort who tended to have co-morbidities and unsurprisingly worse outcomes. We identified a number of Fusobacterium bacteraemias likely to have resulted from pressure ulcers, a presentation that has been rarely reported. Interestingly, we also identified a case of neonatal F. nucleatum bacteraemia that was not associated with premature nor stillborn birth. CONCLUSION As work continues to depict the spectrum of disease caused by this enigmatic bacterium, it is hoped that improved clinical suspicion will result in better outcomes and management.