Unusual Bacterial Infections and the Pleura

Carlos E Kummerfeldt*, John T Huggins, Steven A Sahn
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Medical University of South Carolina, USA

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© Kummerfeldt et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Medical University of South Carolina, 96 Jonathan Lucas St. Suite 812-CSBMSC 630, Charleston, SC 29425, USA; Tel: 843-792-7199; E-mail:


Rickettsiosis, Q fever, tularemia, and anthrax are all bacterial diseases that can affect the pleura. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and Mediterranean Spotted Fever (MSF) are caused by Rickettsia rickettsii and Rickettsia conorii, respectively. Pleural fluid from a patient with MSF had a neutrophil-predominant exudate. Coxiellaburnetii is the causative agent of Q fever. Of the two cases described in the literature, one was an exudate with a marked eosinophilia while the other case was a transudate due to a constrictive pericarditis. Francisella tularensis is the causative agent of tularemia. Pleural fluid from three tularemia patients showed a lymphocyte predominant exudate. Bacillusanthracis is the causative agent of anthrax. Cases of inhalational anthrax from a recent bioterrorist attack evidenced the presence of a serosanguineous exudative pleural effusion. These four bacterial microorganisms should be suspected in patients presenting with a clinical history, exposure to known risk factors and an unexplained pleural effusion.

Keywords:: Rickettsia, Q fever, tularemia, anthrax, pleural disease..