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Ophthalmic Manifestation of Tsukamurella Species

A Case Series and First Report of Ocular Implant Infection After Enucleation

Leung, Kai Ching Peter MBBCh, MRCSEd; Au, Sunny Chi Lik MBBCh, MRCSEd; Ko, Tak Chuen Simon FRCS

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000001997
Case Report

Purpose: Tsukamurella is an important and emerging organism that causes opportunistic human infection. We present the largest case series of Tsukamurella species-associated ophthalmic infections, with an emphasis on clinical spectrum, risk factors, treatment, and outcome.

Methods: A case series of culture-positive Tsukamurella species in ocular microbiological specimens was identified retrospectively from 2005 to 2018. Tsukamurella species were identified by phenotypic, molecular, and genotypic methods. Diagnoses were clinical and were supplemented by microbiological findings. Treatment including antibiotic type, number of antibiotics, treatment duration, and clinical outcome was documented.

Results: Eleven cases of culture-positive Tsukamurella ocular infection were identified. Of these 54.5% (6/11) of cases resulted in conjunctivitis, 18% (2/11) of cases resulted in keratitis, and 9% (1/11) of cases resulted in blepharitis. One case of canaliculitis and 1 case of postenucleation ocular implant-related infection were reported, which were both novel findings. The presence of ocular implant and preexisting ocular surface diseases such as exposure keratopathy and ectropion were thought to be predisposing factors. We have demonstrated that treatment of Tsukamurella ocular conjunctivitis, keratitis, and blepharitis was effective using a combination therapy of 2 antibiotics (fluoroquinolone, fusidic acid, or chloramphenicol). Canaliculitis and ocular implant infection required further addition of oral antibiotics (macrolide or doxycycline), canaliculotomy, and removal of the infected implant for satisfactory management.

Conclusions: Tsukamurella tyrosinosolvens and Tsukamurella pulmonis were found to be the predominant species that caused ocular infection. Ocular manifestation of Tsukamurella has a wider spectrum than that previously reported. A high-level of suspicion and a low threshold for microbiological sampling in cases with prolonged ocular surface infection are recommended to diagnose Tsukamurella infections.

Department of Ophthalmology, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong.

Correspondence: Leung Kai Ching Peter, MBBCh, MRCSEd, Department of Ophthalmology, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, Causewaybay, Hong Kong (e-mail:

K. C. P. Leung designed, analyzed, reviewed, and revised the manuscript. C. L. Au and T. C. S. Ko revised the manuscript.

Received February 09, 2019

Received in revised form March 23, 2019

Accepted March 27, 2019

Online date: May 29, 2019

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.