Journal of Global Infectious Diseases

: 2020  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 219--220

Nontyphoid Salmonella empyema in a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Dipesh Solanky1, Brian Kwan2,  
1 Department of Internal Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
2 Department of Internal Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego; Department of Medicine, VA San Diego Healthcare, La Jolla, California, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dipesh Solanky
Department of Internal Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California


Pleuropulmonary infections caused by nontyphoid Salmonella(NTS) are rare, but may develop in immunocompromised hosts. We report the case of a 56-year-old male with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus presenting with a multiloculated empyema due to NTS involving the left oblique pulmonary fissure.

How to cite this article:
Solanky D, Kwan B. Nontyphoid Salmonella empyema in a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus.J Global Infect Dis 2020;12:219-220

How to cite this URL:
Solanky D, Kwan B. Nontyphoid Salmonella empyema in a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Global Infect Dis [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Oct 17 ];12:219-220
Available from:

Full Text

 Summary of Case

A 56-year-old male with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes mellitus (hemoglobin A1c = 18.1%) and heavy alcohol use presented with 1 month of pleuritic chest pain, productive cough, and 10-pound weight loss. He denied any gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. His examination demonstrated temporal wasting, decreased breath sounds in the left lower and middle lung fields, and a benign abdomen. Laboratory studies revealed a white blood cell count of 16,900/mm3 with 30% bandemia. Computed tomography (CT) abdomen was negative for intra-abdominal infection.

CT thorax demonstrated left lower lobe consolidation with an elliptical hyperdensity abutting the cephalic portion of the left oblique fissure and adjoining pleural effusion [Figure 1]a, [Figure 1]b, [Figure 1]c, arrows. The differential diagnosis included pleural fluid loculation, intrapulmonary abscess, and malignancy with or without secondary abscess formation. Following chest tube placement in the left basal pleural effusion, blood, sputum, and pleural fluid cultures grew Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis. Pleural fluid cultures also grew Streptococcus intermedius, suggesting GI-pulmonary translocation of Salmonella via aspiration.{Figure 1}

The patient was treated with ceftriaxone per susceptibilities. Due to persistent fevers, leukocytosis, and undiminished size of the hyperdensity on subsequent imaging, surgical intervention was pursued. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery revealed a left oblique fissure filled with purulence. Following successful thoracic decortication, the patient completed 5 weeks of ceftriaxone with symptom resolution. A follow-up CT of his thorax 8 months later is shown in [Figure 2]a-c.{Figure 2}

Salmonella species are facultative aerobic Gram-negative rods, classified into typhoid and nontyphoid subtypes. While most commonly presenting as self-limited gastroenteritis, nontyphoid Salmonella (NTS) infection can rarely cause bacteremia and extraintestinal focal infections (EFIs), with mortality ranging from 30% to 40%.[1] Endarteritis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, and pleuropulmonary infections are the most frequently identified EFIs,[2],[3] with the principal risk factor being an immunocompromised state.[3] Long-standing, uncontrolled diabetes has been reported as a predisposing factor for EFIs through reduced gastric acidity and impaired gut motility from enteric neuropathy.[4]

The multiloculated nature of the patient's empyema with a segment abutting the oblique fissure raised clinical suspicion for a possible intrapulmonary abscess. While differentiating empyema from pulmonary abscesses can be challenging, certain clinical and radiographic features can help distinguish the two entities. A patient with a lung abscess typically presents acutely with fevers and a productive cough. Conversely, a patient with an empyema may manifest fevers over a subacute to chronic timeframe and sometimes lack a cough.[5] On CT imaging, lung abscesses typically appear circular while an empyema forms a lenticular shape.[6] In addition, pleural enhancement contiguous with the borders of the collection, as seen in this case, favors empyema.[5] Empyema often necessitates drainage or excision, whereas pulmonary abscesses will often resolve with parenteral antibiotics alone. Chest tube placement in pulmonary abscesses carry an additional risk of bronchopulmonary fistula formation.

In conclusion, pleuropulmonary infections are a rare, potentially deadly manifestation of NTS infection in patients with uncontrolled diabetes. Longer symptom duration, lenticular shape, and contiguity with the pleura on imaging can help distinguish empyema from pulmonary abscess. Depending on its location and the patient's clinical status, empyema may require surgical intervention in addition to drainage to achieve resolution.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Shimoni Z, Pitlik S, Leibovici L, Samra Z, Konigsberger H, Drucker M, et al. Nontyphoid Salmonella bacteremia: Age-related differences in clinical presentation, bacteriology, and outcome. Clin Infect Dis 1999;28:822-7.
2Chen PL, Chang CM, Wu CJ, Ko NY, Lee NY, Lee HC, et al. Extraintestinal focal infections in adults with nontyphoid Salmonella bacteraemia: Predisposing factors and clinical outcome. J Intern Med 2007;261:91-100.
3Crum NF. Non-typhi Salmonella empyema: Case report and review of the literature. Scand J Infect Dis 2005;37:852-7.
4Telzak EE, Greenberg MS, Budnick LD, Singh T, Blum S. Diabetes mellitus – A newly described risk factor for infection from Salmonella enteritidis. J Infect Dis 1991;164:538-41.
5Hassan M, Asciak R, Rizk R, Shaarawy H, Gleeson FV, Rahman NM. Lung abscess or empyema? Taking a closer look. Thorax 2018;73:887-9.
6McLoud TC, Flower CD. Imaging the pleura: Sonography, CT, and MR imaging. AJR Am J Roentgenol 1991;156:1145-53.