Multispecies Outbreak of Nocardia Infections in Heart Transplant Recipients and Association with Climate Conditions, Australia

Emerg Infect Dis. 2022 Nov;28(11):2155-2164. doi: 10.3201/eid2811.220262.


A multispecies outbreak of Nocardia occurred among heart transplant recipients (HTR), but not lung transplant recipients (LTR), in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, during 2018-2019. We performed a retrospective review of 23 HTR and LTR who had Nocardia spp. infections during June 2015-March 2021, compared risk factors for Nocardia infection, and evaluated climate conditions before, during, and after the period of the 2018-2019 outbreak. Compared with LTR, HTR had a shorter median time from transplant to Nocardia diagnosis, higher prevalence of diabetes, greater use of induction immunosuppression with basiliximab, and increased rates of cellular rejection before Nocardia diagnosis. During the outbreak, Sydney experienced the lowest monthly precipitation and driest surface levels compared with time periods directly before and after the outbreak. Increased immunosuppression of HTR compared with LTR, coupled with extreme weather conditions during 2018-2019, may explain this outbreak of Nocardia infections in HTR.

Keywords: Australia; Nocardia; bacteria; climate; disease outbreak; immunocompromised host; organ transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basiliximab
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Heart Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Nocardia Infections* / diagnosis
  • Nocardia Infections* / epidemiology
  • Nocardia*
  • Transplant Recipients
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination


  • Basiliximab
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination