Fungemia due to Lachancea fermentati: A case report

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Background: Lachancea fermentati is an environmental yeast that is also used in the fermentation of alcoholic drinks. It has not previously been described as a human pathogen although the closely related yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii, can cause fungemia. Here we report a case of L. fermentati acting as a pathogen in a septic patient with cultures positive from blood, peritoneal fluid, bile, and sputum.Case presentation: A 36 year-old Caucasian man was hospitalized with acute alcoholic hepatitis complicated by Escherichia coli spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Three days after admission, he developed new fevers with sepsis requiring mechanical ventilation and vasopressor support. He was found to have a bowel perforation. Cultures from blood, peritoneal fluid, and sputum grew a difficult-to-identify yeast. Micafungin was started empirically. On hospital day 43 the yeast was identified as L. fermentati with low minimum inhibitory concentrations (by Epsilometer test) to all antifungals tested. Micafungin was changed to fluconazole to complete a 3-month course of therapy. Serial peritoneal fluid cultures remained positive for 31 days. One year after his initial hospitalization the patient had ongoing cirrhosis but had recovered from fungemia.Conclusion: This case demonstrates the need for clinicians to consider host factors when interpreting culture results with normally non-pathogenic organisms. In this immunocompromised host L. fermentati caused disseminated disease. We believe his hobby of brewing alcohol led to colonization with L. fermentati, which then resulted in invasive disease when the opportunity arose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number250
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 10 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Annette Fothergill at the Fungus Testing Laboratory at the University of Texas Health Science Center for identification of the yeast species. AML is supported by a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grant [5T32AI055433-09]. JG and MR do not have grant support.


  • Fungemia
  • Lachancea fermentati
  • Opportunistic pathogen


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