“We have a mould growing in a blood culture” they said.
“You mean a yeast?” asked the Microbiologist.
“Nope, definitely a mould” replied the BMS.
“A contaminant maybe?” asked the Microbiologist again, now starting to hope this was the case.
“Nope, definitely not a contaminant” replied the BMS.
“Please tell me this was handled in Cat 3?” asked the Microbiologist again, starting to sound worried and thinking he should maybe put the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) telephone number into his phone!
“Nope, not in Cat 3” replied the BMS looking crest fallen, “but it should have been… I think it’s Talaromyces marneffei”
The Microbiologist just stared at them lost for words… why did it always happen when he was on duty?!
What is Talaromyces marneffei?
T. marneffei is a dimorphic fungus; it has two types of growth depending on the temperature (a bit like cheese! Cheese is a solid block when in the fridge but when sliced and put on toast under a grill it’s all gooey!!!) It used to be called Penicillium marneffei, but like many other microorganisms it has undergone a recent name change just to keep us on our toes.