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Propionibacterium acnes causing non-contiguous, multifocal spondylodiscitis in an immunosuppressed patient
  1. Elina Ozolina1,
  2. Kaspars Auslands1,
  3. Maris Buks1 and
  4. Martins Ansons2
  1. 1Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Rigas Austrumu kliniska universitates slimnica, Riga, Latvia
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, Rīga Stradiņš University, Riga, Latvia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elina Ozolina; elina.neurosurg{at}


This report describes a case of a spondylodiscitis in an immunocompromised patient with an HIV infection caused by Propionibacterium acnes. The patient was admitted to hospital with a sudden loss of motor function and sensation in both of the patient’s legs. A biopsy taken during the first debridement operation proved to be negative for Mycobacterium tuberculosis DNA and growth, but was positive for the growth of P. acnes. Following a course of antibiotic therapy and the aforementioned debridement, the patient was moved to a specialised clinic for physical therapy. The patient’s condition quickly deteriorated, and the patient once again required extensive debridement. Repeated spinal surgery, antibiotics for 12 weeks and subsequent rehabilitation resulted in almost complete recovery of sensorimotor limb function.

  • infections
  • bone and joint infections
  • infection (neurology)
  • spinal cord

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  • Contributors All authors contributed equally to the project with EO and MB providing the care of patient and writing, formatting of the case. MA translated the case in english and performed review of relevant literature. KA translated the case in english, advised us on academic matters and helped perform review of literature. Additionally EO led this initiative and performed necessary corrections to the case report, wrote consent forms and obtained consent from the institution and the patient.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.