Actinomyces, are gram-positive, non-spore forming anaerobic or microaerophilic species. Empyema due to actinomycosis is relatively rare and can be difficult to diagnose as the presenting symptoms may be indolent and the micro-organism may be difficult to culture. This case report describes a patient presenting with dyspnoea, weight loss and lethargy. The chest radiograph, CT and thoracic ultrasound revealed a left-sided pleural effusion. A chest drain was inserted under ultrasound guidance. The pleural fluid was macroscopically consistent with pus and microbiology showed growth of gram-positive bacilli, Actinomyces meyeri as well as the Fusobacterium species. The patient was treated with a drainage of the pleural fluid, a prolonged course of antibiotics and made a good recovery. The awareness that the Actinomyces species and the Fusobacterium species through their synergistic interaction may cause empyema, may lead to a timely diagnosis and treatment.
- pleural infection
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Contributors The following authors were responsible for drafting of the text, sourcing and editing of clinical images, investigation results, drawing original diagrams and algorithms and critical revision for important intellectual content: CS, JK. The following authors gave final approval of the manuscript: CS, MB and JK.
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.
Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.