, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 391-399
Date: 27 Oct 2012

Tularemia in Central Anatolia

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Abstract

Background

Tularemia is a bacterial zoonosis with diverse clinical manifestations depending on bacterial subspecies and the route of the infection.

Methods

We collected data prospectively of cases diagnosed and treated for tularemia in our institution during the epidemics from December 2009 to August 2011. Specific antibodies were screened by a microagglutination test. Throat swab and lymph node aspirate cultures were obtained and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed on these specimens. Lymph nodes were characterized on the basis of ultrasound reports.

Results

A total of 139 patients were confirmed with tularemia. The age range of the patients was 6–83 years (mean: 43) and 84 (60.4 %) of them were females. Patients had clinical presentations compatible with oropharyngeal (74 %), glandular (15.8 %), and oculoglandular (5.0 %) tularemia. Ultrasonography (US) was performed in 108 patients. Antibiotics (aminoglycosides, quinolones, and doxycycline) were used in 138 patients. Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) or surgical drainage of fluctuant lymph nodes were performed in 51 (39 %) patients. Therapeutic failure was observed in 43 (30.9 %) patients. Elevation of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were observed to be significantly higher in patients with therapeutic failures (p = 0.003 and 0.004, respectively). The success rate was significantly higher in patients with early treatment (p = 0.004). No difference was found between the effectiveness of aminoglycoside or quinolone treatments. The increase in the short and long axes, and the characteristics of lymph nodes detected on US were significantly associated with treatment failures (p < 0.001). Intranodal necrosis was found in 45 patients. The treatment success rate was 40 % in patients with intranodal necrosis.

Conclusion

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study defining the US findings of patients with tularemia and its association with treatment success. Ciprofloxacin is an effective and convenient choice in epidemics of tularemia and early treatment is still the cornerstone of successful therapies.