Open Access Open Badges Case report

A case of penicillium marneffei infection involving the main tracheal structure

Ye Qiu, Jianquan Zhang*, Guangnan Liu, Xiaoning Zhong, Jingmin Deng, Zhiyi He and Bai Jing

Author Affiliations

Department of Respiratory Medicine, the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi 530021, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:242  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-242

Published: 7 May 2014



Penicillium marneffei is the only dimorphic member of the genus and is an emerging pathogenic fungus that can cause fatal systemic mycosis. Penicillium marneffei disseminates hematogenously to other locations. Penicillium marneffei infection most commonly involves the skin, lungs, and reticuloendothelial system, including the bone, bone marrow, joints, lymph nodes, pericardium, liver, and spleen. Involvement of the mesenteric and central nervous systems has also been reported. Infection involving the trachea has not been previously reported.

Case presentation

We herein report a previously healthy 28-year-old male farmer from Guangxi Province without HIV who became infected with P. marneffei. The infection primarily affected the trachea, resulting in structural damage to the cartilage, tracheal stenosis, and tracheal absence. The infection also involved the lungs and lymph nodes. After antifungal treatment and surgery, his symptoms, signs, and lung imaging findings showed significant improvement. This is the first such case report.


Penicillium marneffei infection in normal hosts is characterized by an insidious onset, various clinical manifestations, and common misdiagnosis, leading to high mortality rates. Penicillium marneffei hematogenously disseminates throughout the whole body. This is the first reported case of P. marneffei infection involving the main trachea with subsequent structural damage to the tracheal cartilage, severe tracheostenosis, and tracheal absence.

Penicillium marneffei; Trachea involvement; Tracheostenosis; Tracheal absence