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Volume 49, Number 2, April 2016

Chaetomium atrobrunneum and Aspergillus fumigatus in multiple tracheal aspirates: Copathogens or symbiosis 

He Wang, Yali Liu, Sharon C.-A. Chen, Yun Long, Fanrong Kong, Ying-Chun Xu


Corresponding author:

Corresponding author. Ying-Chun Xu, Clinical Laboratory, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing 100730, China. 


Background and purpose: 

Chaetomium atrobrunneum has never been reported to be associated with pneumonia. We report the isolation of C. atrobrunneum and Aspergillus fumigatus from a Chinese elderly patient with fatal pneumonia. Branched, long, and septate hyphae were observed in potassium hydroxide preparations and Gram-stained smears, and confluent C. atrobrunneum growth and a few A. fumigatus colonies were found in tracheal aspirates (nine separate occasions). These isolates were identified by conventional morphological methods and by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer and the D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA gene. The patient responded poorly to the combination therapy of amphotericin B and caspofungin. This report adds C. atrobrunneum to the list of fungal pneumonia in immunocompromised hosts. This case report also illustrated the presence of a growth symbiosis between Chaetomium species and A. fumigatus.