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Outbreak of Pythium Keratitis During Rainy Season: A Case Series

Thanathanee, Onsiri MD; Enkvetchakul, Orapin MD; Rangsin, Ram MD, MPH, DrPH; Waraasawapati, Sakda MD; Samerpitak, Kittipan MSc; Suwan-apichon, Olan MD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3182535841
Case Report

Purpose: To describe typical clinical and laboratory characteristics of severe fungal keratitis caused by Pythium insidiosum during the rainy season in Northeast Thailand and to report the efficacy of P. insidiosum vaccine in the treatment of Pythium keratitis.

Methods: A series of hospital-based consecutive cases of Pythium keratitis were diagnosed and treated at Srinagarind Hospital (Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand). The clinical presentations, diagnostic tests, and management are described.

Results: Severe fungal keratitis caused by P. insidiosum was diagnosed in 5 eyes of 4 patients between May 2009 and July 2009. All cases had a history of fungal keratitis after being exposed to contaminated water. Upon slit-lamp examination, subepithelial and superficial stromal opacities were observed in a reticular pattern in all cases. Pythium insidiosum was identified and confirmed by both microbiological culture and polymerase chain reaction. Clinical worsening was detected after conventional treatment with antifungal agents. Therapeutic penetrating keratoplasty with either donor cornea or scleral graft was performed together with topical antifungal administration and P. insidiosum vaccination. Subsequent evisceration was performed in 1 eye.

Conclusions: An outbreak of Pythium keratitis in Northeast Thailand was reported. Distinctive clinical features are a suggestive clue for early diagnosis. Combination treatment including topical antifungal agents, radical surgery, and P. insidiosum vaccine may be considered for the management of Pythium keratitis.

*Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

Department of Military and Community Medicine, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand

Departments of Pathology and

§Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Reprints: Olan Suwan-apichon, Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand (e-mail:

The authors have no financial or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Presented at XXIV Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists of Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand 2009.

Received January 6, 2012

Accepted February 28, 2012

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.