Haemophilus parainfluenzae, a human commensal, is an infrequent cause of serious disease. A case of endocarditis caused by this organism in a five year old boy with complex congenital heart disease is reported. The course of this disease was very aggressive, leading to heart failure, disseminated intravascular coagulation and multiorgan failure in spite of appropriate antibiotics and surgical intervention. The difficulties in the detection and identification of H parainfluenzae using conventional culture based technology, and the potential role of molecular techniques, are highlighted.
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