Background: Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare and potentially life-threatening syndrome led by a highly stimulated but invalid immune response, and Talaromyces marneffei (T. marneffei) is an opportunistic infection with high mortality commonly among acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients.
Methods: Here is a rare case, in which secondary HLH is caused by dual infections of T. marneffei and cytomega-lovirus (CMV). A 15 year old man with a 20-day history of fatigue and intermittent fever (maximum 41.0℃) was admitted to the department of infectious diseases. Marked hepatosplenomegaly and pulmonary infection were detected by computed tomography. Examination of peripheral blood and bone marrow (BM) smears provided clues pointing toward T. marneffei infection, and indicated prominent hemophagocytosis.
Results: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and T. marneffei infections were confirmed by CMV quantitative nucleic acid testing and culture of blood and bone marrow, respectively. A diagnosis of acquired HLH caused by dual infections of T. marneffei and CMV was established because 5 of the 8 HLH diagnostic criteria were met.
Conclusions: The case highlights the contribution of the morphological examination on peripheral blood and bone marrow smears in the diagnosis, which sometimes are the only locations that HLH and T. marneffei can be diagnosed.