Summary. Disseminated infection with the fungal pathogen Penicillium marneffei is, after extrapulmonary tuberculosis and cryptococcal meningitis, the third most common opportunistic infection in HIV disease in northern Thailand. We report the clinical, microbiological, and therapeutic features of a large series of HIV-infected adults with disseminated P marneffeiinfection. From August, 1987, to June, 1992, 92 patients with P marneffei infection confirmed by culture were seen at Chiang Mai University Hospital, of whom 86 were also infected with HIV. Clinical information was available for 80 of these patients. The most common presenting symptoms and signs were fever (92%), anaemia (77%), weight loss (76%), and skin lesions (71%). 87% of patients presenting with skin lesions had generalised papules with central umbilication. Presumptive diagnosis was made in 50 patients by microscopic examination of Wright's-stained bone-marrow aspirate and/or touch smears of skin biopsy or lymph-node biopsy specimens. Most patients who were diagnosed responded initially to amphotericin or itraconazole, whereas most who were not diagnosed and treated died. 12 patients relapsed within 6 months of cessation of treatment. P marneffei has become an important pathogen of HIV-associated opportunistic infection in Thailand.
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