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Revista do Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo

On-line version ISSN 1678-9946

Rev. Inst. Med. trop. S. Paulo vol.59  São Paulo  2017  Epub June 01, 2017 

Letter to the Editor

Bacteremia caused by Elizabethkingia meningoseptica in a mechanically ventilated patient successfully treated with imipenem-cilastatin and ciprofloxacin

Chang-Hua Chen1 

Ching-Hsiung Lin2 

Jen-Shiou Lin3 

(1)Changhua Christian Hospital, Division of Infectious Disease, Changhua, Taiwan

(2)Changhua Christian Hospital, Division of Chest Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Changhua, Taiwan

(3)Changhua Christian Hospital, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Changhua, Taiwan

Changhua, February 14, 2017

Dear editor

Elizabethkingia meningoseptica is ubiquitous in soil and water as well as in hospital environments1,2,3. Thus, nosocomial outbreaks of E. meningoseptica can result from exposure to contaminated water sources or medical devices2. Due to the therapeutic challenge resulting from multi-drug resistance, recognition and treatment of E. meningoseptica is of paramount importance for clinicians2,3. We report a case of bacteremia due to a multi-drug resistant E. meningoseptica in a patient who required assisted ventilation due to respiratory failure.

A 62-year-old male, who had had a history of oral cancer with operation and concurrent chemoradiotherapy, diabetes mellitus, bilateral vocal palsy, upper airway obstruction followed by tracheostomy and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, developed cough with shortness of breath prior to admission. He was admitted to the intensive care ward because of impending respiratory failure. Ventilation support with Evita 4 (Dräger, Lubeck, Germany) was used, and he was transferred to the respiratory care center (RCC) for weaning twenty-one days later, because of fluctuations in his respiratory condition associated with underlying pulmonary problems. A new fever episode appeared on the 11th day after transfer to RCC (Figure 1). The lungs showed crackles on the right side. Laboratory analyses revealed a white blood cell count of 10,800 cells/ mm3. The serum creatinine level was 2.3 mg/dL. The chest X-ray showed a new pneumonic patch over the left lower lobe. E. meningoseptica (2/2 sets) was identified by using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (bioMerieux, Hazlewood, Mo.). An antimicrobial drug susceptibility test4 was conducted for E. meningoseptica by using the bioMérieux VITEK 2 system (bioMerieux, Hazlewood, MO.), and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was measured for each of the following antimicrobial drugs: piperacillin-tazobactam, cefotaxime, flomoxef, ceftazidime, cefepime, cefoperazone, amikacin, gentamicin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, imipenem-cilastatin, meropenem, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, doxycycline and colistin (Table 1). In addition, MIC results determined by the Epsilometer test (AB Biodisk, Sweden system) were: ciprofloxacin ≧4 μg/mL; levofloxacin ≧8 μg/mL; imipenem-cilastatin ≧16 μg/mL; meropenem ≧16 μg/mL; trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole ≧4/ 76 μg/mL; and vancomycin ≧16 μg/mL. The patient received a combination of intravenous ciprofloxacin (200 mg every 12 hours) and imipenem-cilastatin (250 mg every 6 hours). His condition stabilized gradually and the follow-up chest X-ray showed improvement. Due to difficulty in weaning, he was transferred to a respiratory care ward after 42 days of hospitalization at RCC. No outbreak of E. meningoseptica infection was reported during the period of hospitalization at RCC. The follow-up of microbiological analyses for this patient did not show E. meningoseptica infection.

Green Line: medical intensive care unit; Black Line: respiratory care center; Blue Line: respiratory care ward; Brown Line: antibiotics regimen for Elizabethkingia meningoseptica; Brown dot line: history of antibiotics usage.

Notes:1Antibiotics history: flomoxef 1,000 mg ib q12h (MICU Day1 - MICU Day 6) for empirical therapy; ciprofloxacin 200 ib q12h (MICU Day 6-MICU Day 8) for coverage of P. aeruginosa, and stop ciprofloxacin due to no significant evidence of pulmonary infection by P. aeruginosa; no antibiotics ( MICU Day 8- RCC Day 11); piperacilin 3,000 mg ib q6h (RCC Day 11- RCC Day 14) empirically for new fever episode. 2weaning index: synchronized intermittent mode was 6/minute with pressure support 16 cmH2O, FiO2 was 30 %, positive end-expiratory pressure was 5 cmH2O, rapid shallow breathing index was 96. 3weaning index: bi-level positive airway pressure mode assisted with pressure control mode 22/ minute, FiO2 was 30%, positive end-expiratory pressure was 8 cmH2O, tidal volume was 455 cm H2o, ventilation rate was 16/ minute, total mechanical volume was 10.9 L /minute. 4Antibiotics history: No prescription of antibiotics (RCC Day 28- RCC Day 42).

Abbreviation: ib: in bag drip; M, male; MICU: medical intensive care unit; RCC: respiratory care center; s/p, status of post; WBC: white cell count.

Figure 1 Timeline of the Elizabethkingia meningoseptica infection, serial chest X-ray images and serial antibiotics history 

Table 1 Susceptibilities of this isolate to the antimicrobial agents 

E-test 3 VITEK 24 MIC interpretation criteria (μg/mL)
Antimicrobial agent 1 This isolate S I R
Amikacin ≧64 ≤ 16 32 ≥ 64
Cefepime ≧32 ≤ 8 16 ≥ 32
Cefoperazone ≧64 ≤ 16 32 ≥ 64
Cefotaxime ≧32 ≤ 8 16-32 ≥ 32
Flomoxef ≧64 (pending)
Ceftazidime ≧32 ≤ 8 16 ≥ 32
Ciprofloxacin ≧4 ≧4 ≤ 1 2 ≥ 4
Colistin ≧16 ≤ 2 4 ≥ 8
Doxycycline ≧16 ≤ 4 8 ≥ 16
Gentamicin ≧16 ≤ 4 8 ≥ 16
Imipenem ≧16 ≧16 ≤ 4 8 ≥ 16
Levofloxacin ≧8 ≧8 ≤ 2 4 ≥ 8
Meropenem ≧16 ≤ 4 8 ≥ 16
Minocycline ≧16 ≤ 4 8 ≥ 16
Piperacillin/tazobactam ≧128 ≤ 16/4 32/4-64/4 ≥ 32/4
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole ≧4/76 ≧4/76 ≤ 2/38 - ≥ 4/76
Vancomycin2 ≥ 16 ≤ 2 4-8 ≥ 16

Notes:1The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) breakpoints for non-Enterobacteriaceae were applied for all antimicrobial agents except for vancomycin and flomoxef [Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. 2016. M100-S26: performance standards for antimicrobial susceptibility testing, 26th informational supplement. CLSI, Wayne, PA.]. 2The CLSI MIC breakpoint for Staphylococcus spp. was applied to vancomycin. 3Antimicrobial drug susceptibility test was conducted by using the Epsilometer test (AB Biodisk, Sweden system). 4Antimicrobial drug susceptibility test was conducted by using the bioMérieux VITEK 2 system (bioMerieux, Hazlewood, MO.). Abbreviation: CLSI: Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute; I: intermediate; MIC: minimal inhibitory concentration; S: susceptible; R: resistant.

The appropriate choice of antibiotics for treatment of E. meningoseptica infection is difficult because optimal antimicrobial guidelines remain to be established2,3. Herein, the antimicrobial drug susceptibility test of this E. meningoseptica showed resistance to all the antibiotics, including trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and vancomycin5. However, the bacteremia caused by E. meningoseptica was successfully treated in this case with a two-week administration of imipenem-cilastatin and ciprofloxacin. In terms of generalization, this case description is limited by the restricted number of clinical studies in the literature2,3, the lack of minimum inhibitory concentration breakpoints of antimicrobial agents to E. meningoseptica4, and the paucity of 16S rRNA sequencing data due to the inability to perform a reliable 16S rRNA sequencing analysis without a valid positive control6.

We suggest a combination therapy as an alternative for treatment of multi-drug resistant E. meningoseptica infection and undertaking active surveillance of E. meningoseptica infections because E. meningoseptica outbreaks could subsequently result from exposure to contaminated water sources or medical devices.


The authors thank the Changhua Christian Hospital for providing us with the clinical Elizabethkingia meningoseptica isolate. The authors thank Ru-Hua Hsiu for the handling the microbiological identification, as well as Chin-Hsin Li for handling the assisted ventilation. The authors thank the Changhua Christian Hospital for the grant support. All authors thank the assistants of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory of the Changhua Christian Hospital for their assistance in data collection. This research project would not have been possible without the support of many people. The authors wish to express their gratitude to the staffs of Division of Infectious Diseases, Division of Chest Medicine, and Division of Critical Care of Changhua Christian Hospital who were very helpful and conducted the patient’s care.


1. Hsu MS, Liao CH, Huang YT, Liu CY, Yang CJ, Kao KL, et al. Clinical features, antimicrobial susceptibilities, and outcomes of Elizabethkingia meningoseptica (Chryseobacterium meningosepticum) bacteremia at a medical center in Taiwan, 1999-2006. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2011;30:1271-8. [ Links ]

2. Barlam TF, Kasper DL. Infections due to the HACEK group and miscellaneous Gram-Negative bacteria. In: Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Jameson JL, Fauci AS, Longo DL, Loscalzo J, editors. Harrison’s Principles of internal medicine, 19th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. [ Links ]

3. Steinberg JP, del Rio C. Other Gram-Negative bacilli. In: Mandell GL, Bennet JE, Dolin R, editors. Mandell, Douglas and Bennet’s Principles and practice of infectious diseases. 7th ed. Edinburg: Churchill Livingstone; 2010. [ Links ]

4. Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. M100-S26: performance standards for antimicrobial susceptibility testing, 26th informational supplement. Wayne, PA: CLSI; 2016. [ Links ]

5. Fraser SL, Jorgensen JH. Reappraisal of the antimicrobial susceptibilities of Chryseobacterium and Flavobacterium species and methods for reliable susceptibility testing. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1997;41:2738-41. [ Links ]

6. Han MS, Kim H, Lee Y, Kim M, Ku NS, Choi JY, et al. Relative prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of clinical isolates of Elizabethkingia species based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing. J Clin Microbiol. 2016;55:274-80. [ Links ]

RESEARCH FUNDING/SUPPORT. The present work was partially supported by a grant from the Changhua Christian Hospital (grant 105-CCH-IPR-001).

Received: February 14, 2017; Accepted: April 10, 2017

Correspondence to: Chang-Hua Chen. Changhua Christian Hospital, Division of Infectious Disease, 135 Nanhsiau Street, Changhua, Taiwan. Tel: 886-4-7238595, Fax: 886-4-7289233. E-mail:


The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


This study was approved by the Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH) Institutional Review Board (CCH IRB Nº 131221) for human subjects


CHC conceived and designed this study. CHC analyzed the data, wrote the paper, prepared figures and tables. CHC, CHL and JSL assisted the patient. CHC handled the literature review. JSL performed the experiments. All authors reviewed the drafts of the paper.

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