Malassezia furfur--disseminated infection in premature infants

Am J Clin Pathol. 1989 Nov;92(5):595-603. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/92.5.595.


Three infants, born prematurely, died after clinical illnesses of 67, 65, and 60 days from infection by Malassezia furfur. Each infant had been nourished with lipid emulsions delivered through deep-line catheters. The infections, all discovered at autopsy, were characterized by massive involvement of lungs. Two of the three had endocardial vegetations containing M. furfur; all three had lesions in liver, kidney, and spleen, and two had lesions in adrenal, pancreas, and colon. In addition, one of the infants had acute meningoencephalitis caused by M. furfur. In some of the distant organs, yeast cells of M. furfur were growing in the lumina of small vessels, filling the lumina, but causing no vasculitis or infarction. In addition to these benign collections of yeasts within vessels, there were acute inflammatory lesions as well. These were consolidation, vasculitis, granulomatous inflammation, septic thrombosis, and septic infarction of lung and foci of necrosis and inflammation in kidney and liver. Two previously reported autopsies described neonates with lesions in lung and heart. The authors' three cases for which autopsies were performed had lesions in lung and heart too but, in addition, had dissemination with acute lesions in kidney and liver. Finally, one patient had a severe meningoencephalitis caused by M. furfur.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / etiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / microbiology
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / pathology*
  • Malassezia* / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Mycoses / etiology
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Mycoses / pathology*
  • Parenteral Nutrition / adverse effects


  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous