Unlike Elizabethkingia meningoseptica, the clinical importance of E. anophelis is poorly understood. We determined the clinical and molecular epidemiology of bacteremia caused by Elizabethkingia-like species from five regional hospitals in Hong Kong. Among 45 episodes of Elizabethkingia-like bacteremia, 21 were caused by Elizabethkingia, including 17 E. anophelis, three E. meningoseptica and one E. miricola; while 24 were caused by other diverse genera/species, as determined by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Of the 17 cases of E. anophelis bacteremia, 15 (88%) were clinically significant. The most common diagnosis was pneumonia (n = 5), followed by catheter-related bacteremia (n = 4), neonatal meningitis (n = 3), nosocomial bacteremia (n = 2) and neutropenic fever (n = 1). E. anophelis bacteremia was commonly associated with complications and carried 23.5% mortality. In contrast, of the 24 episodes of bacteremia due to non-Elizabethkingia species, 16 (67%) were clinically insignificant. Compared to non-Elizabethkingia bacteremia, Elizabethkingia bacteremia was associated with more clinically significant infections (P < 0.01) and positive cultures from other sites (P < 0.01), less polymicrobial bacteremia (P < 0.01), and higher complication (P < 0.05) and mortality (P < 0.05) rates. Elizabethkingia bacteremia is predominantly caused by E. anophelis instead of E. meningoseptica. Elizabethkingia bacteremia, especially due to E. anophelis, carries significant morbidity and mortality, and should be considered clinically significant unless proven otherwise.
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