Q fever community-acquired pneumonia in a patient with Crohn's disease on immunosuppressive therapy.Heart Lung. 2007 Jul-Aug; 36(4):300-3.HL
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) may be caused by typical or atypical pathogens. The three most common zoonotic atypical pathogens are Chlamydophila psittaci (psittacosis), Francisella tularensis (tularemia), and Coxiella burnetii (Q fever). Atypical CAPs are suggested by a distinctive pattern of extrapulmonary organ involvement. Zoonotic CAP may be differentiated from nonzoonotic CAP (Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionnaire's disease) by a recent zoonotic vector contact history. Zoonotic atypical CAP occurs sporadically, but not randomly, and require close association with the appropriate zoonotic vector to transmit the infection. CAP accompanied by the extrapulmonary finding of splenomegaly in a normal host limits differential diagnostic possibilities to Q fever and psittacosis. Splenomegaly does not occur with other typical or atypical CAP. Another common extrapulmonary finding occurs with some atypical pneumonias, that is, Q fever, psittacosis, and Legionnaire's disease is early mild/transient elevations of serum transaminases indicative of (hepatic) extrapulmonary organ involvement. The case presented is a middle-aged man with longstanding Crohn's disease who was further immunosuppressed by chronic prednisone therapy. The patient presented with CAP and extrapulmonary findings, that is, splenomegaly and increased serum transaminases. He denied recent contact with birds or animals. Because Crohn's disease and Q fever CAP may be accompanied by splenomegaly, the cause of his splenomegaly was a diagnostic dilemma. The patient was treated with levofloxacin. Serologic tests for atypical pathogens (Q fever, psittacosis, Legionnaire's disease, C. pneumoniae, and M. pneumoniae) were ordered. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay serology for Q fever was positive with elevated acute immunoglobulin-M (phase II) titers. Re-questioning of the patient revealed a recent exposure to a neighbor's parturient cat, providing the necessary zoonotic vector contact history for Q fever. The patient responded to levofloxacin, which resulted in resolution of the patient's symptoms, right lower lobe pneumonia, and splenomegaly. Because a prior abdominal computed tomography scan indicated no splenomegaly and his splenomegaly resolved with antimicrobial therapy, the splenomegaly was related to Q fever CAP.