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Actinomycosis with Fusobacterium empyema


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.

  • empyema
  • pleural infection

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