Medicinal leeches are used to control venous congestion. Aeromonas in the leech gut are essential for digestion of blood. This case report describes a patient who had Aeromonas bacteremia develop after leeching. He had an injury to his hand that required replantation of his thumb. Following the surgery, leech therapy was started with ampicillin-sulbactam prophylaxis. Sepsis developed. Blood cultures were positive for Aeromonas that were resistant to ampicillin-sulbactam. The antibiotic was changed to ciprofloxacin on the basis of the sensitivity profile of the organisms. Cultures from the leech bathwater confirmed it as the source of the Aeromonas. Clinicians who use leech therapy must be aware that leeches can harbor Aeromonas species resistant to accepted prophylactic antibiotics and that sepsis may occur.
Aeromonas Septicemia After Medicinal Leech Use Following Replantation of Severed Digits
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Steven M. Levine, Spiros G. Frangos, Bruce Hanna, Kari Colen, Jamie P. Levine; Aeromonas Septicemia After Medicinal Leech Use Following Replantation of Severed Digits. Am J Crit Care 1 September 2010; 19 (5): 471–470. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ajcc2009110
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