Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. hominis DNA in immunocompetent health care workers in contact with patients with P. carinii pneumonia

Academic Article


  • The possible transmission of Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. hominis from patients with P. carinii pneumonia to asymptomatic health care workers (HCW), with or without occupational exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with P. carinii pneumonia, was examined. HCW in a specialist inpatient HIV-AIDS facility and a control group in the general medical-respiratory service in the same hospital provided induced sputum and/or nasal rinse samples, which were analyzed for the presence of P. carinii f. sp. hominis DNA by using DNA amplification (at the gene encoding the mitochondrial large subunit rRNA [mt LSU rRNA]). P. carinii f. sp. hominis DNA was detected in some HCW samples; those with the closest occupational contact were more likely to have detectable P. carinii DNA. P. carinii DNA was detected in one HCW who carried out bronchoscopy over a 2-year period. P. carinii-positive samples were genotyped by using DNA sequence variations at the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of the nuclear rRNA operon, along with bronchoalveolar lavage samples from patients with P. carinii pneumonia hospitalized at the same time. Genotyping identified 31 different P. carinii f. sp. hominis ITS genotypes, 26 of which were found in the patient samples. Five of the eight ITS genotypes detected in HCW samples were not observed in the patient samples. The results suggested that HCW in close occupational contact with patients who had P. carinii pneumonia may have become colonized with P. carinii. Carriage was asymptomatic and did not result in the development of clinical disease.
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    Author List

  • Miller RF; Ambrose HE; Wakefield AE
  • Start Page

  • 3877
  • End Page

  • 3882
  • Volume

  • 39
  • Issue

  • 11