A case of bacteremia due to Campylobacter fetus subspecies fetus with concomitant pleuropericarditis in a previously healthy patient is presented. The organism is ubiquitous, but most commonly causes infection in patients with chronic underlying illnesses. The pathogenesis of human infection has not been definitively elucidated. Bacteremia is the most common clinical manifestation of this infection, although cases of thrombophlebitis, mycotic aneurysm, endocarditis, and pericarditis have also been reported. The treatment of choice for most infections is gentamicin, with chloramphenicol recommended for infection involving the central nervous system. Tetracyclines and erythromycin are alternative agents. Prolonged therapy is essential to the prevention of relapse. A high index of suspicion is necessary for the recognition of this organism in the appropriate clinical settings.
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Received for publication 10 March 1989 and in revised form 14 August 1989. The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting those of the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense. This study was supported in part by the Coleman Leukemia Research Fund. Dr. Morrison is the recipient of an American Cancer Society Regular Clinical Fellowship. The authors thank Diane Hudson for her assistance in preparation of the manuscript. Please address requests for reprints to Dr. Vicki A. Morrison, Division of Medical Oncology, Box 286, University of Minnesota Health Sciences Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455.