Clustering of invasive Aspergillus ustus eye infections in a tertiary care hospital: A molecular epidemiologic study of an uncommon species

M. A. Saracli, F. M. Mutlu, S. T. Yildiran, A. E. Kurekci, A. Gonlum, Y. Uysal, U. Erdem, A. C. Basustaoglu, D. A. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Aspergillus infections are being increasingly recognized as an important cause of morbidity and blindness. We report here the first cluster of Aspergillus ustus endophthalmitis cases which occurred in a large tertiary care hospital during the period October 2003 to June 2004. In three of the cases, the patients required enucleation following cataract surgery, while the fourth involved a fatal infection in a pediatric patient hospitalized for osteopetrosis. Patient charts from the four cases were reviewed retrospectively and indicated that postoperative signs of fungal endophthalmitis developed in the patients 1-11 weeks after surgery. The molecular characterization of the isolates and their epidemiological relatedness were evaluated by Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD). A source investigation of this mini outbreak was performed by environmental sampling, but no isolates of A. ustus were recovered from these studies. All A. ustus strains isolated from three patients with fungal endophthalmitis had the same RAPD pattern suggesting a common source. The strain from the pediatric patient differed from the ophthalmic isolates in five electrophoretic loci. The latter was included solely as an outbreak, unrelated control to evaluate the discriminatory power of the molecular typing method employed in the analysis of the ophthalmic strains. These cases illustrate the potential for uncommon species like A. ustus to cause high morbidity and mortality in some clinical settings. Aspergillus ustus endophthalmitis is a serious and devastating complication of ocular surgery. It is unknown whether ongoing hospital construction may have contributed to this cluster of cases. Random amplification of polymorphic DNA may give valuable clues about the clonality of A. ustus strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-384
Number of pages8
JournalMedical mycology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Cataract surgery
  • Endophthalmitis
  • Hospital infection
  • Hospital renovation
  • Osteopetrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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