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Original article

Vol. 150 No. 1718 (2020)

Chromobacterium violaceum bacteraemia: a new entity in Switzerland

  • Enrico Moretti
  • Franca Baggi Menozzi
  • Luigia Elzi
  • Mattia Lepori
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20220


We report the uncommon clinical case of our patient, an 83-year-old woman with Alzheimer disease, who acquired a potentially fatal tropical infection in an open-air swimming pool in the Alps. Chromobacterium violaceum is a rare gram-negative anaerobe bacillus, generally associated with serious waterborne infections in tropical and subtropical regions. The patient presented to our emergency department with a 2-day history of fever and a small non-necrotic wound on the right leg after a minor injury 9 days before. It turned out to be the first infection in Switzerland due to C. violaceum, a deadly bacterium typical of tropical regions. C. violaceum appeared for the first time in Europe in the 2011. This is now the third documented case in less than a year and the second autochthonous infection ever in our continent. A delay in adequate treatment of this emerging pathogen may be associated with high fatality rates.


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