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Endocarditis by Kocuria rosea in an immunocompetent child.

Kocuria rosea belongs to genus Kocuria (Micrococcaceae family, suborder Micrococcineae, order Actinomycetales) that includes about 11 species of bacteria, characteristically gram positive and aerobic (although some species like Kocuria kristinae, Kocuria marina and Kocuria rhizophila may proliferate in anaerobic conditions). (1)

Usually, Kocuria sp are commensal organisms that colonize oropharynx, skin, and mucous membrane; Kocuria sp infections have been described in the last decade commonly affecting immunocompromised patients, using intravenous catheter or peritoneal dialysis. These patients had mainly bacteremia/recurrent sepsis. (1-5) It is noticeable, however, that the immunocompromise was not mandatory in all reported cases. (3)

Most pediatric cases were caused by K. kristinae; K. rosea was only described in one child until now, with peritonitis (2-7) (Table 1).

Laboratory identification of Kocuria sp by biochemistry methods is difficult due to similarity with other pathogens, especially coagulase-negative staphylococci, which delays the proper treatment. (1,3)

We herein describe a case of a 10-year-old girl who was diagnosed with aortic coarctation, which was surgically corrected at the age of 11 days. Since then she has had compensated congestive heart failure using propranolol and furosemide. This girl had appropriate weight and height for her age and no other co-morbidity during her life. At the age of 10 years she began having daily fever (without identified cause) and splenomegaly. Thirty days after the first fever episode, she had clinical and radiological diagnosis of pneumonia, at first treated with oral clarithromycin. After one week of treatment, the patient had again fever associated with headache, heart failure, and signs of sepsis; complementary imaging evaluation showed subarachnoid hemorrhage and bacterial endocarditis (vegetation in the mitral valve). During this period, five blood cultures, in three different days, were positive for K. rosea. The patient responded well to intravenous amoxicillin and clavulanate and support measures (oxygen by mask, diuretics); central intravenous catheter or other invasive procedures were not required.

As Kocuria sp infection is classically related to immunodeficiency, a specific investigation was carried out that negative for HIV infection, leukocytes/neutrophils and lymphocytes within normal range, normal fractions of the complement, normal levels of immunoglobulins for the age; lymphocyte immunophenotyping was also within the expected values. The thymus looked normal at chest MRI.

Kocuria sp laboratory identification was performed in a three-phase blood sample system (Probac); five samples, on three different days (day 0, 3 and 28), were positive for Gram-positive cocci in tetrads; the colony grew under aerobic conditions at 37 [degrees]C; replication took place in 5% sheep blood medium (BioMerieux, France). Kocuria sp identification was performed by Vitek 2 ID-GPC card (BioMerieux, France). Analysis of the genome through molecular methods is desirable, but due to economic and technical limitations its use was not possible in our service.

Infective endocarditis (IE) is a disease with high mortality rate, despite medical advances. IE is uncommon in children under 17-year-old and most cases are associated with structural heart defects. A recent Canadian study involving 136 children with IE showed that cyanotic congenital cardiopathy and surgical correction before six months old were major risk factors. (8) In the case shown here, both situations were present.

The most common etiological agents for IE are Streptococcus viridans, Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Enterococcus and other Gram-negative are rare. The genus Kocuria is considered an atypical cause of endocarditis (1); one case of IE by K. rosea was described in a 35-year-old woman, but no cases have been described in children. (9) Regarding antibiotic susceptibility, Kocuria sp is sensitive to a variety of drugs (amoxicillin, cephalosporin, aminoglycoside, vancomycin, clindamycin); variable sensitivity to quinolones and sulfa. (3,9) Amoxicillin-clavulanate has been proposed as the initial antibiotic treatment, (1) as done in this case. Potentially contaminated catheters, if present, must be removed.

Many aspects of Kocuria sp infections are not yet entirely understood; besides human and other mammals, these bacteria maybe found in drinking water sources, different sediments, seed and fermented food, being notable for its tropism for plastics. Kocuria sp usually form a biofilm, frequently in association with other bacteria. (2) A recently identified K. rosea strain (BS1) is capable of producing an exopolysaccharide (called Kocuran), that has, in vitro, antioxidant and immunosuppressive properties--in human polymorphonuclear cultures stimulated with PHA, Kocuran inhibit the proliferation of these cells and also inhibit complement mediated hemolysis. (10)

There are few sporadic reports of Kocuria sp infections (especially by K. rosea); in the present case, despite IE risk factors, the lab screening for primary immunodeficiency was negative and there was no prolonged use of any kind of catheters. Genomic methods, as 16S RNA gene sequence, are desirable for correct identification of coagulase-negative staphylococci which presents a large phenotypic variation; this kind of approach is equally useful to confirm Kocuria species. (11) However, despite not having used genomic methods and some restriction about Vitek 2 ID GPC card, (11,12) identification of K. rosea was essential in this case, and subsequent use of effective antibiotic treatment. Careful laboratory analysis of Gram-positive blood infection may reveal more cases of Kocuria sp infections in immunocompetent patients, which may contribute for better understanding, prevention, and early treatment of these infections in pediatrics.


Article history:

Received 27 June 2014

Accepted 30 September 2014

Available online 15 December 2014

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


(1.) Savini V, Catavitello C, Masciarelli G, et al. Drug sensitivity and clinical impact of members of the genus Kocuria. J Med Microbiol. 2010;59:1395-402.

(2.) Becker K, Rutsch F, Uekotter A, et al. Kocuria rhizophila adds to the emerging spectrum of micrococcal species involved in human infections. J Clin Microbiol. 2008;46:3537-9.

(3.) Dotis J, Printza N, Papachristou F. Peritonitis attributable to Kocuria rosea in a pediatric peritoneal dialysis patient. Perit Dial Int. 2012;32:577-8.

(4.) Moissenet D, Becker K, Merens A, et al. Persistent bloodstream infection with Kocuria rhizophila related to a damaged central catheter. J Clin Microbiol. 2012;50:1495-8.

(5.) Chen HM, Chi H, Chiu NC, et al. Kocuria kristinae: a true pathogen in pediatric patients. J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2013,

(6.) Karadag Oncel E, Boyraz MS, Kara A. Black tongue associated with Kocuria (Micrococcus) kristinae bacteremia in a 4-month-old infant. Eur J Pediatr. 2012;171:593.

(7.) Lai CC, Wang JY, Lin SH, et al. Catheter-related bacteraemia and infective endocarditis caused by Kocuria species. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2011;17:190-2.

(8.) Rushani D, Kaufman JS, Ionescu-Ittu R, et al. Infective endocarditis in children with congenital heart disease: cumulative incidence and predictors. Circulation. 2013;128:1412-9.

(9.) Srinivasa KH, Agrawal N, Agarwal A, et al. Dancing vegetations: Kocuria rosea endocarditis. BMJ Case Rep. 2013;28,

(10.) Kumar CG, Sujitha P. Kocuran an exopolysaccharide isolated from Kocuria rosea strain BS-1 and evaluation of its in vitro immunosuppression activities. Enzyme Microb Technol. 2014;55:113-20.

(11.) Ben-Ami R, Navon-Venezia S, Schwartz D, et al. Erroneous reporting of coagulase-negative staphylococci as Kocuria spp. by the Vitek 2 system. J Clin Microbiol. 2005;43:1448-50.

(12.) Boudewijns M, Vandeven J, Verhaegen J. Vitek 2 automated identification system and Kocuria kristinae. J Clin Microbiol. 2005;43:5832.

Jorge Salomao Moreira (a), Adriana Gut Lopes Riccetto (b), *, Marcos Tadeu Nolasco da Silva (b), Maria Marluce dos Santos Vilela (b), Study Group Centro Medico de Campinas/Franceschi Medicina Laboratorial [1]

(a) Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Campinas/Puccamp, Campinas, SP, Brazil

(b) Pediatric Immunology, Center for Investigation in Pediatrics (CIPED), Pediatrics Department, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas/Unicamp, Campinas, SP, Brazil

* Corresponding author at: Center for Investigation in Pediatrics, Pediatrics Department, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas/Unicamp, Rua Tessalia Vieira de Camargo, 126, Campinas, Sao Paulo CEP 13083-887, Brazil.

E-mail address: (A.G.L. Riccetto).

[1] Address: Private Hospital, Centro Medico de Campinas and Private Laboratory Service, Franceschi Medicina Laboratorial, Campinas, SP, Brazil.
Table 1--Reported cases of Kocuria sp infections in pediatric

Author/Year    Patient/Age   Clinical              Etiology

Present case   Female 10     Endocarditis          K. rosea
2014           years old

Chen 2013      12 infants    Apnea, bradicardia,   K. kristinae
               (0.6-3.3      desaturation,
               months)       thrombocytosis,
                             neutropenic fever,
                             high fever

Dotis 2012     Female 8      Peritonitis           K. rosea
               years old

Moissenet      Female 3      Persistent            K. rhizophila
2012           years old     bloodstream

Karadag        Female 4      Bloodstream           K. kristinae
2012           months-old    infection and
                             Black hairy tongue.

Lai 2010       Male 2        Bloodstream           K. kristinae
               years-old     infection

Becker 2008    Male 8        Repeated septic       K. kristinae
               years old     episodes

Author/Year    Underlying condition

Present case   Congenital heart
2014           disease (Aortic
               surgical correction)

Chen 2013      6--prematurity;
               1--acute leukemia
               (all 7 with central
               venous catheter); 5
               without underlying
               diseases (with
               peripheral catheter)

Dotis 2012     Peritoneal

Moissenet      Total colonic form
2012           of Hirschsprung's
               ileostomy and
               vascular-access port
               for home parenteral

Karadag        Prolonged diarrhea
2012           and Severe failure
               to thrive. Total
               parenteral nutrition
               via a central venous

Lai 2010       Congenital short
               bowel Syndrome,

               Porth-A-cath for
               total parenteral

Becker 2008    Methylmalonic
               aciduria due to a
               deficiency of
               coenzyme A mutase.
               vascular-access port
               Vital-Port) for
               intravenous diet
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Brief communication
Author:Moreira, Jorge Salomao; Riccetto, Adriana Gut Lopes; da Silva, Marcos Tadeu Nolasco; Vilela, Maria M
Publication:The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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