Escherichia coli is the most common gram-negative organism associated with bacteremia. While recurrent E. coli urinary tract infections are well- described, recurrent E. coli bacteremia appears to be uncommon, with no episodes noted in multiple series of patients with gram-negative bacteremias. We report on 5 patients with recurrent bloodstream infections identified from a series of 163 patients with E. coli bacteremia. For each patient, the isolates from each episode were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and ribotyping and for the presence of E. coli virulence factors. For each of four patients, the index and recurrent episodes of bacteremia represented the same strain as defined by PFGE, and the strains were found to carry one or more virulence factors. The remaining patient, with two episodes of bloodstream infection separated by a 4-year interval, was infected with two isolates that did not carry any virulence factors and that were clonally related by ribotype analysis but differed by PFGE. All five patients had either a local host defense defect (three patients) or impaired systemic defenses (one patient) or both (one patient). Thus, recurrent E. coli bacteremia is likely to represent a multifactorial process that occurs in patients with impaired host defenses who are infected with virulent isolates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)