A 64-year-old woman was referred to our hospital due to progressive dypnoea for the past week, combined with fever and type 1 respiratory failure. White blood cell count and procalcitonin level were normal. The Chest X-ray showed bilateral disseminated pulmonary infiltrates. Within the next 24 hours the patient developed a severe ARDS. A first diagnostic work-up for typical and atypical pathogens as well as serological tests for CMV, RSV, HIV and HSV were negative. Analysis of a second bronchoalveolar lavage fluid revealed Pneumocystis jiroveci DNA. The patient was successfully treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and off label use with caspofungin. The cause of the infection was a six week treatment with dexamethasone. The patient developed a toxic epidermal necrolysis during further course, but completely recovered.
Pneumonia with Pneumocystis jirovecii must also be taken into account in non-HIV patients, whenever there are any indications that cellular immunity may be depressed