Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, ISSN - 0973 - 709X

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Original article / research
Table of Contents - Year : 2017 | Month : February | Volume : 11 | Issue : 2 | Page : DC14 - DC19

Fungal Opportunistic Pneumonias in HIV/AIDS Patients: An Indian Tertiary Care Experience DC14-DC19

Ravinder Kaur, Bhanu Mehra, Megh Singh Dhakad, Ritu Goyal, Preena Bhalla, Richa Dewan

Dr. Ravinder Kaur,
Department of Microbiology, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Kalawati Saran Children Hospital,
New Delhi-110001, India.

Introduction: Opportunistic pneumonias are a major cause of mortality and morbidity in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) reactive patients. Despite the significant role that fungi play in causation of this opportunistic mycoses, very few Indian studies have attempted to investigate the burden and aetiological spectrum of HIV/AIDS-associated fungal pneumonias.

Aim: To document the prevalence of fungal aetiology in HIV/AIDS-related opportunistic pneumonias in an Indian setting; and to elucidate the various fungal opportunists responsible for the same.

Materials and Methods: The present study was a prospective, cross-sectional analysis conducted at Maulana Azad Medical College and associated Lok Nayak Hospital, New Delhi from October 2008 to September 2011. Expectorated sputa were collected from 71 HIV reactive patients with a clinical diagnosis of pneumonia and subjected to direct microscopic examination employing Gram stain, 10% KOH wet mount and India ink preparation. In addition, direct immunofluorescence of sputum samples was performed for detection of cysts and trophozoites of Pneumocystis carinii. Also, each sputum sample was inoculated in duplicate onto Sabouraud Dextrose Agar (SDA) for culture. A blood sample was drawn from each patient and a battery of serological tests was performed, including Cryptococcal Antigen Latex Agglutination System (CALASTM) for detection of cryptococcal capsular polysaccharide antigen; Platelia™ Aspergillus EIA for detection of Aspergillus galactomannan antigen; SERION ELISA antigen Candida for detection of Candida antigen and Histoplasma DxSelect™ for detecting antibodies to Histoplasma species. Descriptive statistics were employed to depict results as proportions and figures. Further, arithmetic mean and standard deviation were calculated for central tendencies and median for non-normal/skewed distributions.

Results: A definite fungal aetiology was established in 25 (35.2%) of 71 HIV reactive patients with pneumonic involvement. Of these, sputa of 21 patients yielded single fungal isolates, while mixed fungal isolates were reported in four patients. Pneumocystis carinii was the predominant fungal pathogen isolated in our study and was reported in 14 (19.7%) patients. Pulmonary aspergillosis was reported in 7 (9.9%) patients, with Aspergillus flavus (4), Aspergillus fumigatus (2) and Aspergillus niger (1) being the commonly recovered Aspergillus species. Candida pneumonia was documented in 6 (8.5%) patients and the Candida species isolated included Candida albicans in four, Candida glabrata in one and Candida tropicalis in one of these six patients respectively. Pulmonary cryptococcosis was diagnosed in 2 (2.8%) patients; a coexisting cryptococcal meningitis was documented in one of them. Furthermore, antibodies against Histoplasma species were detected in 21 (29.6%) cases suggesting its possible aetiological role.

Conclusion: Fungal opportunistic pneumonias are common in HIV reactive patients in Indian setting and warrant a prompt and accurate diagnostic evaluation in the form of a combination of microbiological, serological and histopathological techniques, for an effective prophylactic and therapeutic management.