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A successful antimicrobial regime for Chromobacterium violaceum induced bacteremia

James I Campbell1, Nguyen Phu Huong Lan2, Phan Tu Qui2, Le Thi Dung2, Jeremy J Farrar1 and Stephen Baker13*

Author Affiliations

1 The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2 The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

3 The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-4

Published: 4 January 2013



Chromobacterium violaceum is a proteobacterium found in soil and water in tropical regions. The organism rarely causes infection in humans, yet can cause a severe systemic infection by entering the bloodstream via an open wound.

Case presentation

We recently identified a case of severe bacteremia caused by Chromobacterium violaceum at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here, we describe how rapid microbiological identification and a combination of antimicrobials was used to successfully treat this life threatening infection in a four-year-old child.


This case shows the need for rapid diagnosis when there is the suspicion of a puncture wound contaminated with water and soil in tropical regions. We suggest that the aggressive antimicrobial combination used here is considered when this infection is suspected.