Journal of Laboratory Physicians
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 284-286  

Pleural effusion due to Chryseobacterium indologenes: Case report and review of literature

1 Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of CTVS, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission05-Apr-2019
Date of Acceptance16-Jun-2019
Date of Web Publication17-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Benu Dhawan
Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JLP.JLP_57_19

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Chryseobacterium indologenes is found ubiquitously in the environment; it rarely causes human disease. Hence, we report a case of C. indologenes-associated pleural effusion in a patient with aortic dissection. Postoperatively, the patient developed massive right-sided pleural effusion with underlying consolidated lung. Culture of the pleural fluid yielded pure growth of C. indologenes which was susceptible to cotrimoxazole, minocycline, and tigecycline. Therapy was modified; tigecycline and cotrimoxazole were started following which the patient showed improvement, and subsequent cultures of the pleural fluid were sterile. This report promotes awareness of this organism as an emerging pathogen in lung infections and emphasizes the importance of targeted therapy.

Keywords: Aortic dissection, Chryseobacterium indologenes, pleural effusion

How to cite this article:
Arif N, Khullar S, Kumar R, Choudhary SK, Kapil A, Dhawan B. Pleural effusion due to Chryseobacterium indologenes: Case report and review of literature. J Lab Physicians 2019;11:284-6

How to cite this URL:
Arif N, Khullar S, Kumar R, Choudhary SK, Kapil A, Dhawan B. Pleural effusion due to Chryseobacterium indologenes: Case report and review of literature. J Lab Physicians [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Dec 6];11:284-6. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Chryseobacterium indologenes is a nonfermenting Gram-negative bacillus which is ubiquitously found in the environment. Recently, an upsurge of C. indologenes nosocomial infections has been reported because of the advances in newer diagnostic modalities, which have made identification of rare nonfermenters easier.[1] We describe a case of C. indologenes-associated pleural effusion in a patient with aortic dissection.

   Case Report Top

A 42-year-old male patient presented to the emergency department with complaints of acute onset of severe chest pain and shortness of breath. There was no trauma or injury to the chest. The patient had no underlying history of diabetes, immunosuppression, or any other comorbid condition apart from a past history of aortic regurgitation. There was no recent history of hospitalization, indwelling catheters, or invasive procedures. On initial examination, the patient was conscious and well oriented with heart rate of 124/min, blood pressure of 190/71 mmHg, respiratory rate of 24/min, and 72% SpO2. Respiratory examination revealed bilateral vesicular breath sounds. All other organ systems were normal on examination. The hematological investigations were normal. Computed tomography aortic angiography revealed Type A aortic dissection with intimal flap extending from the aortic root proximally up to the left common iliac artery distally, and a large entry tear was present in the ascending aorta. The patient underwent a modified Bentall procedure with hemiarch repair and Alfieri mechanical valve (MV) repair for Type A aortic dissection. An initial regimen of meropenem, ofloxacin, and metronidazole was started.

The patient was readmitted after 2 weeks of surgery with high-grade fever (102°F). Laboratory tests revealed leukocytosis (15,000/mm 3) and raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate (40 mm at the end of first hour (AEFH)). Blood cultures were sterile. A normally functioning MV was seen on echocardiogram. The patient was started empirically on meropenem and ceftriaxone for possible culture-negative endovascular infection. Within 24 h, the patient developed respiratory difficulty, and ultrasound chest revealed a massive right-sided pleural effusion with underlying consolidated lung. An intercostal drainage was performed, and pleural fluid was sent for bacterial culture.

Culture of the pleural fluid yielded convex, circular, and yellow-colored colonies on 5% sheep blood agar. Gram stain showed Gram-negative bacilli, which were nonmotile, catalase positive, oxidase positive, indole positive, and glucose nonfermenting. The isolate was further confirmed as C. indologenes by MALDI-TOF MS system (VITEK MS™; bioMerieux, France) with 99.9% confidence value of identification. Samples from the patient's surroundings including swabs from the dressing trolley, bed railing, mattress, in-use antiseptic solutions, and intravenous fluids were tested to determine the source of infection. However, all samples were negative for C. indologenes.

Despite antimicrobial therapy, leukocytosis and fever persisted. Susceptibility testing was performed using VITEK I automated system (BioMerieux Vitek, Inc.), and the isolate was susceptible to cotrimoxazole, minocycline, and tigecycline and resistant to aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, piperacillin/tazobactam, cefoperazone-sulbactam, third-generation cephalosporins, and carbapenems. Treatment was modified, and tigecycline and cotrimoxazole were started and continued for 10 days. The patient improved, and follow-up cultures of the pleural fluid were sterile. The patient was discharged at the end of the treatment period.

   Discussion Top

Majority of the infections caused by C. indologenes have been associated with certain predisposing conditions such as immunodeficiency, malignancies, presence of indwelling catheters, and invasive devices.[2],[3] Our patient was immunocompetent. Surgical intervention could be the predisposing factor for acquisition of this infection. Isolation of this organism from a sterile site, absence of other pathogens, and response to treatment suggest that C. indologenes was responsible for pleural effusion in this case. Environmental screening failed to detect the source of infection. Although the biological sequence of events is unknown, the organism was possibly inoculated through a breach in the skin at the time of the surgery, possibly giving rise to a transient bacteremia and seeding into the pleural cavity.

C. indologenes presents with a high rate of resistance against commonly used antibiotics such as aminoglycosides, chloramphenicol, penicillins, aztreonam, cephalosporins, and carbapenems. Since the C. indologenes isolate was multidrug resistant, our patient did not respond to the empirical antibiotic therapy. The most often found active agents are newer fluoroquinolones, minocycline, cefepime, and cotrimoxazole.[3],[4],[5] Our patient responded well to a combination of tigecycline and cotrimoxazole.

We searched the PubMed database for infections of the respiratory system caused by C. indologenes in adults and found 12 case reports [Table 1] and four studies.[5],[18],[19],[20] To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of pleural effusion due to C. indologenes in an immunocompetent individual with preexisting heart disease. This case further expands the clinical spectrum of this opportunistic pathogen. The choice of empirical therapy in such conditions also becomes important since most of these pathogens are multidrug resistant.
Table 1: Respiratory system infections caused by Chryseobacterium indologenes in adult patients

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   Conclusion Top

Our report suggests that the pathogenicity and clinical significance of C. indologenes should not be underestimated. Prompt, appropriate-targeted antimicrobial therapy ensures a favorable outcome. Identification of the source of infection should be attempted wherever possible, as this will have implications for infection control.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Cunha V, Ferreira M, Fonseca AG, Diogo J. Community-acquired Chryseobacterium indologenes in an immunocompetent patient. JMM Case Reports 2014;1:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 1
Nulens E, Bussels B, Bols A, Gordts B, Van Landuyt HW. Recurrent bacteremia by Chryseobacterium indologenes in an oncology patient with a totally implanted intravascular device. Clin Microbiol Infect 2001;7:391-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
Fraser SL, Jorgensen JH. Reappraisal of the antimicrobial susceptibilities of Chryseobacterium and Flavobacterium species and methods for reliable susceptibility testing. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1997;41:2738-41.  Back to cited text no. 3
Chang JC, Hsueh PR, Wu JJ, Ho SW, Hsieh WC, Luh KT. Antimicrobial susceptibility of flavobacteria as determined by agar dilution and disk diffusion methods. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1997;41:1301-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chang YC, Lo HH, Hsieh HY, Chang SM. Identification, epidemiological relatedness, and biofilm formation of clinical Chryseobacterium indologenes isolates from central Taiwan. J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2015;48:559-64.  Back to cited text no. 5
Agarwal S, Kakati B, Khanduri S. Severe sepsis due to Chryseobacterium indologenes, a possible emergent multidrug-resistant organism in intensive care unit-acquired infections. Indian J Crit Care Med 2018;22:817-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Soydan S, Ignak S, Unay Demirel O, Karadaǧ G, Aykent A, Aslan S. Chryseobacterium indologenes infection in a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Drug Discov Ther 2017;11:165-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Imataki O, Uemura M. Chryseobacterium indologenes, a possible emergent organism resistant to carbapenem antimicrobials after stem cell transplantation. Clin Case Rep 2017;5:22-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Chiscano-Camón L, Ruiz-Rodríguez JC, Alcaraz R, Ferrer R. Ventilator-associated pneumonia by Chryseobacterium indologenes. Med Clin (Barc) 2016;146:e61-2.  Back to cited text no. 9
Peñasco Y, Duerto J, González-Castro A, Domínguez MJ, Rodríguez-Borregán JC. Ventilator-associated pneumonia due to Chryseobacterium indologenes. Med Intensiva 2016;40:66-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
Nemli SA, Demirdal T, Ural S. A case of healthcare associated pneumonia caused by Chryseobacterium indologenes in an immunocompetent patient. Case Rep Infect Dis 2015;2015:483923.  Back to cited text no. 11
Ben Salah I, Fekih Hassen M, Ben Haj Khalifa A, Ben Sik Ali H, Tilouche N, Kheder M, et al. Chryseobacterium indologenes in ventilator-associated pneumonia:First reported case in Tunisia. Rev Pneumol Clin 2015;71:374-5.  Back to cited text no. 12
Shahul HA, Manu MK, Mohapatra AK, Chawla K. Chryseobacterium indologenes pneumonia in a patient with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. BMJ Case Rep 2014;2014. pii: bcr2014204590.  Back to cited text no. 13
Monteen MR, Ponnapula S, Wood GC, Croce MA, Swanson JM, Boucher BA, et al. Treatment of Chryseobacterium indologenes ventilator-associated pneumonia in a critically ill trauma patient. Ann Pharmacother 2013;47:1736-9.  Back to cited text no. 14
Yasmin S, Garcia G, Sylvester T, Sunenshine R. Chryseobacterium indologenes in a woman with metastatic breast cancer in the United States of America: A case report. J Med Case Rep 2013;7:190.  Back to cited text no. 15
Ferreira Rde S, Brandão FF, Lobo SM. Chryseobacterium indologenes infection: A case report. Rev Bras Ter Intensiva 2010;22:96-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
Reynaud I, Chanteperdrix V, Broux C, Pavese P, Croizé J, Maurin M, et al. A severe form of Chryseobacterium indologenes pneumonia in an immunocompetent patient. Med Mal Infect 2007;37:762-4.  Back to cited text no. 17
Jain V, Sahu C, Afzal Hussain NA, Ghar M, Prasad KN. The era of device colonizers: Chryseobacterium indologenes infections from a tertiary care center in North India. Indian J Crit Care Med 2018;22:537-40.  Back to cited text no. 18
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Hsueh PR, Teng LJ, Yang PC, Ho SW, Hsieh WC, Luh KT. Increasing incidence of nosocomial Chryseobacterium indologenes infections in Taiwan. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 1997;16:568-74.  Back to cited text no. 19
González-Castro A, Alsasua A, Peñasco Y, Rodríguez JC, Duerto J. Tracheo-bronchitis and pneumonia associated with mechanical ventilation by Chryseobacterium indologenes. Rev Esp Anestesiol Reanim 2017;64:294-8.  Back to cited text no. 20


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