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J Med Case Rep. 2009 Nov 17;3:130. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-3-130.

Community-acquired mastitis due to Mycobacterium abscessus: a case report.

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  • 1Infectious Disease Section, Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.



Mycobacterium abscessus is a rapidly growing mycobacterium usually causing skin and soft tissue infections in immunocompetent patients following contaminated traumatic or surgical wounds or contaminated injected medications. Disseminated infections and pulmonary infections are usually reported in immunocompromised hosts.


We describe a 54-year-old Caucasian woman with mastitis due to M. abscessus. A few days after clinical evidence of mastitis, the patient was started on broad-spectrum antibiotics. Subsequently, due to persistence of symptoms, a percutaneous breast biopsy was performed followed by surgical drainage. Initial cultures failed to grow micro-organisms and tissue histology showed chronic inflammatory reaction with giant cells. Several days after surgery, her symptoms recurred. Finally, M. abscessus breast infection was diagnosed and the patient was treated successfully.


Rapidly growing mycobacteria need to be included in the differential diagnosis of patients with chronic mastitis having pus discharge and who do not respond to broad-spectrum antibiotics.

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