BACKGROUND Chromobacterium violaceum (C. violaceum) is a gram-negative and facultative anaerobic oxidase-positive bacillus generally seen in tropical or subtropical areas (latitudes between 35°N and 35°S). C. violaceum infection is a rare but serious infection with high morbidity and mortality rates. Most clinicians practicing in non-tropical counties, such as Japan, are unfamiliar with it. CASE REPORT We report the first fatal case of a 49-year-old man infected with C. violaceum after a traffic accident in Japan (latitude 34.8°N). The patient reported brief submergence in a marshy muddy rice field after the accident. There was some evidence of soil and water contamination of the patient’s skin and clothing, but he denied swallowing water or soil. There were no findings of pneumonitis or severe open wounds on admission. Until the night of the 7th day of hospitalization, his general conditions remained stable despite a persistent fever. However, he suddenly collapsed on the 8th day of hospitalization and died. C. violaceum bacteremia led to fatal sepsis on dissemination to the iliopsoas abscess, which is a rare combination for this infection. CONCLUSIONS Episodes of exposure to contaminated water or soil, especially in summer, are important predisposing factors for C. violaceum infection. Thus, it is vital to include C. violaceum infections as a differential diagnosis, since the mortality rate of C. violaceum infections is high and the cases of this infection have increased in non-tropical counties.
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