Roderick J. Hay

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks


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  • Medical Microbiology and Virology
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Nocardia species—Nocardia asteroides, N. brasiliensis, and N. otidiscaviarum—are Gram-positive, filamentous, partially acid-fast bacteria. They are occasionally detectable in environmental sources such as soil, but they rarely cause infections in humans, although they can give rise to a variety of different diseases. In healthy individuals, most commonly in the tropics, they can present with cutaneous abscesses or subcutaneous infections (actinomycetoma) in which the organisms are present as clusters of filaments or grains. In immunocompromised patients they cause a disseminated or localized deep infection, with particular sites affected being the lungs or brain. Diagnosis of nocardial infection depends on culture, although histopathology is very useful in nocardial actinomycetomas. Antibiotic treatment is typically with a sulphonamide (often as co-trimoxazole for lung infections), but combinations of drugs are usually given because the responsiveness of Nocardia species is very variable....

Chapter.  1845 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Microbiology and Virology ; Infectious Diseases

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