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01.12.2012 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2012

Mycoplasma hominis brain abscess presenting after a head trauma: a case report

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2012
Autoren:
Andrés F Henao-Martínez, Heather Young, Johanna Jacoba Loes Nardi-Korver, William Burman
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-6-253) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

AFH-M was the major contributor in studying the case and writing the manuscript and was involved in the medical care of the patient. HY contributed to the writing and editing of the manuscript. JJLN-K is on the faculty of the Department of Pathology and was responsible for the brain biopsy reading. WB is on the faculty of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is the director of Denver Public Health, and was involved in the manuscript editing and in the medical care of the patient. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Abbreviations
CT
computed tomography
GU
genitourinary.

Introduction

Mycoplasma hominis is generally a genitourinary (GU) pathogen. M. hominis brain abscess is rare. To the best of our knowledge, only ten cases have been reported in the literature. However, the true incidence may be higher than this because the organism is difficult to grow in vitro. Optimal treatment of M. hominis brain abscess is not well defined in the literature. The organism is uniformly resistant to macrolides, and other potentially useful agents do not penetrate the central nervous system well.

Case presentation

A previously healthy 40-year-old Somali man presented after a motor vehicle accident. Injuries included a right subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhages, intra-parenchymal contusions, facial fractures, and a left humerus fracture. The subdural hematoma was evacuated by means of a craniotomy on hospital day 7. On hospital day 13, our patient developed a fever of 39. 2 °C and purulent drainage from the craniotomy wound. A computed tomography (CT) scan of his head without intravenous contrast demonstrated multiple foci of gas-containing abscesses along the margin of the craniotomy (Figure 1a). The air in the abscess was considered part of the expected post-craniotomy changes. Incision, drainage, and removal of the bone flap were promptly performed. Vancomycin and piperacillin/tazobactam were initiated and then narrowed to ceftriaxone and metronidazole when a Gram stain revealed many polymononuclear cells but no organisms. Despite this management, fevers continued and our patient’s mental status failed to improve. A CT scan of his head without intravenous contrast on hospital day 20 revealed an increase in both the size and extent of the brain abscess (Figure 1a). Our patient underwent a second debridement; again a Gram stain revealed no organisms. A pathology examination of the brain abscess showed a cerebral abscess in the superior temporal lobe with necrosis but without organisms (Figure 1d).
Cultures on sheep’s blood agar from the neurosurgical debridements revealed small colonies with a peripheral clearing (‘fried egg’ morphology). Through sequencing of the 16 S ribosomal subunit region at a reference laboratory, the isolate was identified as M. hominis with 100% homology to reference strains. Our patient’s antibiotics were changed to doxycycline 100mg intravenously twice per day on hospital day 24. His mental status and fevers improved significantly. The abscess had almost fully resolved by hospital day 40 (Figure 1c).

Discussion

M. hominis is traditionally considered to be a GU pathogen and has been implicated in non-gonococcal urethritis and post-partum fevers and is a possible cause of bacterial vaginosis [1, 2]. In addition to causing infection, M. hominis is well known to colonize the GU and respiratory tracts [35]. M. hominis infections outside the GU tract are uncommon, but the organism has been isolated in cases of bacteremia, inguinal wound infections, sternotomy infection, septic prosthetic hip arthritis, pleural empyema, ventriculo-peritoneal shunt infections, and post-neurosurgical wound infections [6].
Eleven cases of M. hominis brain abscess [715], including this case, have been published (Table 1). Eight of these cases were related to head trauma or craniotomy. The mean time to M. hominis isolation in the published literature is 13.5 days, suggesting that patients acquire M. hominis brain abscess while in the hospital. Hemorrhagic lesions in the brain could be seeded by contiguous infection after disruption of a colonized upper airway following trauma or after transient bacteremia from manipulation of the colonized oropharyngeal or GU tracts or both.
Table 1
Cases of adult Mycoplasma hominis brain abscess
Case
Year
Age and sex
Associated condition
First culture after AD
Therapy
1
1981
29-year-old man
Head trauma
21 days
Tetracycline
2
1995
20-year-old man
Head trauma
14 days
Cefotaxime + metronidazole + doxycycline
3
1997
22-year-old woman
Post-partum
8 days
Ceftriaxone + metronidazole
4
2002
40-year-old woman
Cavernous angioma/craniotomy
4 days
Ciprofloxacin + metronidazole
5
2003
17-year-old girl
Post-partum
13 days
Doxycycline + clindamycin
6
2004
40-year-old man
Head trauma
14 days
Tetracycline
7
2008
17-year-old girl
Head trauma
17 days
Gatifloxacin
8
2008
48-year-old man
Craniotomy for colloid cyst removal
18 days
Gatifloxacin + clindamycin
9
2003/ 2006
NA
Post-traumatic
NA
Doxycycline
10a
2011
40-year-old man
Head trauma
13 days
Doxycycline
aPresent report. AD: admission day; NA: not available.
M. hominis is uniformly resistant to macrolides. Fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, and clindamycin have better in vitro antimicrobial activity against M. hominis [16, 17]. These three classes of antibiotics possess similar, moderate rates of blood–brain barrier penetration [18]. Rates of in vitro resistance to these antibiotics may be as high as 10% for clindamycin, 27% for doxycycline, and 80% for ciprofloxacin. However, there have been successful reports for each of these therapies.

Conclusions

M. hominis brain abscess is rare. The mechanism of M. hominis brain abscess is likely to be either direct spread from a colonized oropharynx to an open head wound or seeding of an intra-cranial hematoma from transient bacteremia after manipulation of the GU tract. M. hominis brain abscesses are treatable with surgical drainage and appropriate antimicrobial therapy of a tetracycline, clindamycin, or fluoroquinolone.

Consent

Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of this journal.

Acknowledgments

No funding agencies had a role in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Colorado Denver.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​2.​0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

AFH-M was the major contributor in studying the case and writing the manuscript and was involved in the medical care of the patient. HY contributed to the writing and editing of the manuscript. JJLN-K is on the faculty of the Department of Pathology and was responsible for the brain biopsy reading. WB is on the faculty of the Division of Infectious Diseases, is the director of Denver Public Health, and was involved in the manuscript editing and in the medical care of the patient. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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