causes of infection in neutropaenic patients

Last reviewed 01/2018

  • bacterial infections
    • most are caused by Gram-negative bacilli (including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and coliforms) and Gram - positive cocci including Staphylococcal aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, enterococci, and alpha-haemolytic streptococci

  • anaerobic bacterial infections
    • implicated in polymicrobial oral and perianal sepsis
    • Clostridium difficile, causing necrotising enterocolitis and diarrhoea, is being found increasingly in units with high usage of extended-spectrum antibiotics, especially cephalosporins

  • fungal infection
    • approximately one third of severely neutropaenic patients failing to respond after seven days' broad spectrum antibiotics have invasive fungal infection, often due to Candida species, commonly associated with intravascular line sepsis

  • other pathogens
    • include herpes viruses, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis carinii and other opportunistic organisms - infections with these pathogens may occur in severely neutropaenic patients