Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Atypical Mycobacterial Infection Overview

What is an atypical mycobacterial infection?
An atypical mycobacterial infection is an infection caused by several types of mycobacteria similar to the same bacteria that causes tuberculosis. These types of infections are very common in those with an abnormally functioning immune system, such as someone with AIDS. Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is the most common atypical mycobacterial infection seen in those with AIDS. Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) and Mycobacterium scrofulaceum are also associated with lymphadenitis infections in children with a normally functioning immune system.

What are the symptoms of an atypical mycobacterial infection?
Symptoms of an atypical mycobacterial infection include shortness of breath, fever, night sweats, lymph gland swelling, weight loss, appetite loss, fatigue, severe diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. If an atypical mycobacterial infection spreads to the brain, a person may experience weakness, headaches, vision problems, and loss of balance.

How does the doctor treat an atypical mycobacterial infection?
The treatment of an atypical mycobacterial infection often includes treatment with two antibiotics. These infections are difficult to treat due to antibiotic drug resistance. Atypical mycobacterial infection is very difficult to cure in the person is infected with HIV or AIDS. Infected lymph glands that form an abscess may need to be treated surgically to allow them to drain.

Continue to Atypical Mycobacterial Infection Symptoms

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Atypical Mycobacterial Infection References
  1. Glassroth J. Pulmonary disease due to nontuberculous mycobacteria. Chest. 2008 Jan;133(1):243-51. Review. Erratum in: Chest. 2008 May;133(5):1291. [18187749]
  2. Piersimoni C, Scarparo C. Extrapulmonary infections associated with nontuberculous mycobacteria in immunocompetent persons. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Sep;15(9):1351-8; quiz 1544. [19788801]
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