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Volume 23, Number 8—August 2017
Etymologia

Etymologia: Pneumocystis jirovecii

Ronnie HenryComments to Author 

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Pneumocystis jirovecii [nooʺmo-sisʹtis yeʺro-vetʹze]

Figure

Thumbnail of Cysts of Pneumocystis jirovecii in smear from bronchoalveolar lavage. Methenamine silver stain. CDC/Dr. Russell K. Brynes

Figure. Cysts of Pneumocystis jirovecii in smear from bronchoalveolar lavage. Methenamine silver stain. CDC/Dr. Russell K. Brynes

A genus of unicellular fungi, Pneumocystis (Figure) was likely originally described by Carlos Chagas in 1909 in guinea pigs, although he confused it with a trypanosome and placed it in a new genus, Schizotrypanum. In 1912, Delanoë and Delanoë at the Pasteur Institute published the first description of the new organism as unrelated to trypanosomes and proposed the species name P. carinii in honor of Antonio Carini.

Human Pneumocystis infections were first reported in 1942 by van der Meer and Brug, but not until 1976 did Frenkel report different morphologic and physiologic characteristics of human and rat Pneumocystis isolates. He proposed the name P. jirovecii in honor of Czech parasitologist Otto Jírovec, who reported Pneumocystis as a cause of interstitial pneumonia in infants, although this name change was not accepted by researchers at the time. When Pneumocystis was reclassified from a protozoan to a fungus, the naming convention shifted from the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, and the species epithet was modified from jiroveci to jirovecii.

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References

  1. Frenkel  JK. Pneumocystis jiroveci n. sp. from man: morphology, physiology, and immunology in relation to pathology. Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 1976;43:1330.PubMed
  2. Hawksworth  DL. Responsibility in naming pathogens: the case of Pneumocystis jirovecii, the causal agent of pneumocystis pneumonia. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007;7:35, discussion 5. DOIPubMed
  3. Stringer  JR, Beard  CB, Miller  RF, Wakefield  AE. A new name (Pneumocystis jiroveci) for Pneumocystis from humans. Emerg Infect Dis. 2002;8:8916. DOIPubMed
  4. Stringer  JR, Beard  CB, Miller  RF. Spelling Pneumocystis jirovecii. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009;15:506. DOIPubMed
  5. Walzer  PD, Smulian  AG. Pneumocystis species. In: Mandell GL, Bennett, JE, Dolin R, editors. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Disease. 7th edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2010. p. 3377–90.

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2308.et2308

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Table of Contents – Volume 23, Number 8—August 2017

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Ronnie Henry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop E03, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA

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Page created: July 18, 2017
Page updated: July 18, 2017
Page reviewed: July 18, 2017
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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