What is Stenotrophomonas maltophilia?

Updated: Jun 22, 2021
  • Author: Sara Ahmed, MBBS, FCPS, MRCP(UK); Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Stenotrophomonasmaltophilia previously known as (Xanthomonas) maltophilia is an aerobic gram-negative bacillus that is found in various aquatic environments. Although an uncommon pathogen in humans, S maltophilia infection in humans, especially nosocomial, has been increasingly recognized.

S maltophilia is an organism of low virulence and frequently colonizes fluids used in the hospital setting (eg, hospital tap water, [1]  irrigation solutions, intravenous fluids) and patient secretions (eg, respiratory secretions, urine, wound exudates). S maltophilia usually must bypass normal host defenses to cause human infection. For example, if an irrigation solution becomes colonized with this organism, irrigating an open wound can cause colonization or infection of the wound. S maltophilia is usually incapable of causing disease in healthy hosts without the assistance of invasive medical devices that bypass normal host defenses. [2]

Risk factors associated with S maltophilia infection have been defined and may include underlying malignancy, immunosuppressant therapy, cystic  fibrosis, COPD, HIV, neutropenia, mechanical ventilation, prior colonization with stenotrophomonas, central venous catheter, genitourinary catheter, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), recent surgery, trauma, prolonged hospitalization, ICU admission, and exposure to broad-spectrum antibiotics, third or fourth generation cephalosporins and carbapenems, and hyperalimentation. [3, 4, 5, 6, 7]


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