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Fusarium Infection: Report of 26 Cases and Review of 97 Cases From the Literature

Muhammed, Maged MD*; Anagnostou, Theodora MD*; Desalermos, Athanasios MD; Kourkoumpetis, Themistoklis K. MD; Carneiro, Herman A. MBBS, MSc; Glavis-Bloom, Justin BA; Coleman, Jeffrey J. PhD; Mylonakis, Eleftherios MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000008
Original Study

Fusarium species is a ubiquitous fungus that causes opportunistic infections. We present 26 cases of invasive fusariosis categorized according to the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycoses Study Group (EORTC/MSG) criteria of fungal infections. All cases (20 proven and 6 probable) were treated from January 2000 until January 2010. We also review 97 cases reported since 2000. The most important risk factors for invasive fusariosis in our patients were compromised immune system, specifically lung transplantation (n = 6) and hematologic malignancies (n = 5), and burns (n = 7 patients with skin fusariosis), while the most commonly infected site was the skin in 11 of 26 patients. The mortality rates among our patients with disseminated, skin, and pulmonary fusariosis were 50%, 40%, and 37.5%, respectively. Fusarium solani was the most frequent species, isolated from 49% of literature cases. Blood cultures were positive in 82% of both current study and literature patients with disseminated fusariosis, while the remaining 16% had 2 noncontiguous sites of infection but negative blood cultures. Surgical removal of focal lesions was effective in both current study and literature cases.

Skin lesions in immunocompromised patients should raise the suspicion for skin or disseminated fusariosis. The combination of medical monotherapy with voriconazole or amphotericin B and surgery in such cases is highly suggested.

From the Division of Infectious Diseases (MM, TA, AD, TKK, HAC, JG-B, JJC, EM), Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and Division of Infectious Diseases (TA, JJC, EM), Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island.

*These authors contributed equally to the study.

Financial support and conflicts of interest: This research was supported by a National Institutes of Health grant P01 AI 083214, a R01 award AI075286 and a R21 award AI079569 to EM, and a T32 AI007061 to JJC. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reprints: Eleftherios Mylonakis, MD, PhD, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, RI 02903 (e-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.