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Background: Pasteurella multocida is a small, gram-negative coccobacillus, which most commonly causes soft tissue infections due to animal bites or scratches, mainly from cats and dogs. Immunocompromised hosts, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop systemic complications as a result of P. multocida infections. Objective: Retrospectively analyze the medical records of four afflicted patients being managed at Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, USA between 1999 and 2009, and careful study for additional 32 cases of P. multocida infection among cancer patients with variegated histology found in the current medical literature. Methods: Of 36 subjects, 67% of the patients had been diagnosed with a solid organ cancer, whereas 33% had a hematologic malignancy. Clinical scenarios described fever as the most frequent initial presentation and bacteremia as the most prevalent mode of infection. Results: Forty-seven percent of the patients had experienced some sort of animal contact and 41% showed evidence of skin or soft tissue infection. The status of the white blood cell count, was available in 22 patients (of 36 patients), and 27% demonstrated neutropenia. The survival percentage of the patients with known clinical outcome was 77%. Conclusion: Medical management mostly involved antibiosis with beta-lactams. Atypical scenario of Pasteurella multocida infection may involve bites or scratches (specifically from cats or dogs) in a cancer patient presenting with sepsis and accompanied by skin or soft tissue or respiratory tract infection. A high level of suspicion for P. multocida as a possible pathogen in cancer patients would facilitate an amelioration in morbidity ameliorating, and timely initiation of specific antibiotics.
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