When I went to clinic earlier this month, my pulmonologist told me that the infection I have is bacterial.  The fungal infection I had was ‘rare’ meaning I had very little bit of it.  The real problem is that I have a bacterial infection called stenotrophomonas maltophilia.  To make matters worse, it turns out that I have a strand of it that’s resistant to Septra (also known as Bactrum), which is the drug that’s used to treat patients with stenotrophomonas.  The team is working with the infectious disease doctors to find an alternative solution for me.  Apparently this is an issue because Septra is pretty much the only common drug out there that’s used for this bacteria.  I really hope they find something effective.  Not only am I sick of being sick, the infection tastes DISGUSTING.  Sometimes it’s so bad that I end up gagging because my sputum tastes so bad.  Sorry – I know that’s really gross but sadly this is my reality.  I’m thinking back on this and I realized that I have had this stupid bacterial infection since August of 2009!  UGH.

eMedicine from WebMD states,

“Stenotrophomonas (Pseudomonas) maltophilia is an aerobic gram-negative bacillus that is found in various aquatic environments. It is an uncommon pathogen in humans. S maltophilia is an organism of low virulence and frequently colonizes fluids used in the hospital setting (eg, 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.”

Which means that I most likely picked it up at UCSF. Of course it does. SIGH.

Ultrastructural analysis of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia adhering to plastic. (A) Scanning electron micrographs showing the tight adhesion of SMDP92 to the plastic surface. (B) Structures resembling flagella seem to be protruding and interconnecting bacteria (arrowheads) or connecting bacteria to the plastic (arrows). (C) In addition to the flagellalike filaments (arrowheads), high-power magnification shows the presence of thin fibrillar structures connecting bacteria to the abiotic surface.

Citation: de Oliveira-Garcia D, Dall’Agnol M, Rosales M, Azzuz ACGS, Martinez MB, Girón JA. Characterization of flagella produced by clinical strains of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Emerg Infect Dis [serial online] 2002 Sep [date cited];8. Available from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol8no9/01-0535.htm