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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 2737295, 9 pages
Review Article

Differences in Rhodococcus equi Infections Based on Immune Status and Antibiotic Susceptibility of Clinical Isolates in a Case Series of 12 Patients and Cases in the Literature

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536, USA

Received 4 April 2016; Revised 5 July 2016; Accepted 13 July 2016

Academic Editor: Jose Vasconcelos

Copyright © 2016 Praveen Gundelly et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rhodococcus equi is an unusual zoonotic pathogen that can cause life-threatening diseases in susceptible hosts. Twelve patients with R. equi infection in Kentucky were compared to 137 cases reported in the literature. Although lungs were the primary sites of infection in immunocompromised patients, extrapulmonary involvement only was more common in immunocompetent patients (). Mortality in R. equi-infected HIV patients was lower in the HAART era (8%) than in pre-HAART era (56%) (), suggesting that HAART improves prognosis in these patients. Most (85–100%) of clinical isolates were susceptible to vancomycin, clarithromycin, rifampin, aminoglycosides, ciprofloxacin, and imipenem. Interestingly, there was a marked difference in susceptibility of the isolates to cotrimoxazole between Europe (35/76) and the US (15/15) (). Empiric treatment of R. equi infection should include a combination of two antibiotics, preferably selected from vancomycin, imipenem, clarithromycin/azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, rifampin, or cotrimoxazole. Local antibiograms should be checked prior to using cotrimoxazole due to developing resistance.