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Free Content Characteristics of skin and soft tissue infection caused by non-tuberculous mycobacteria in Taiwan

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SETTING: A medical centre in Taipei, Taiwan.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the clinicopathological and microbiological correlates of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) due to non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).

DESIGN: Patients with NTM SSTI identified from 1999 to 2009 were included. Histological sections of the skin biopsy specimens from these patients were reassessed.

RESULTS: Among 58 patients with NTM SSTI, the most commonly isolated NTM were rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM; n = 30), Mycobacterium marinum (n = 17) and M. avium complex (MAC) (n = 4). Twenty-nine (50%) of the NTM SSTI involved deep soft tissue; these progressed to local tenosynovitis in 20 patients. All of the cutaneous lesions infected with M. marinum occurred on the upper extremities; in 9 patients the skin eruptions developed after injury in an aquatic environment. Skin lesions with RGM infection usually occurred on the lower extremities, and in 6 patients the infection developed from wounds caused by medical procedures. Granulomatous inflammation with fibrinoid necrosis was present in 47% of lesions in patients with M. marinum infection and suppurative granulomatous inflammation was noted in 45% of patients with RGM infection.

CONCLUSIONS: Identification of a close clinicopathological correlate is useful for dermatologists and pathologists in the early diagnosis and treatment of NTM SSTI.

Keywords: M. avium complex; Mycobacterium marinum; NTM; clinicopathology; granulomatous inflammation; rapidly growing mycobacteria

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Pathology, National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan; National Taipei College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Department of Dermatology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan 3: Departments of Internal Medicine and Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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