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Bull World Health Organ. 1997;75(4):361-6.

Diagnosis of disseminated mycobacterial infection: testing a simple and inexpensive method for use in developing countries.

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  • 1Microbiology Institute, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


With the development of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, the isolation of mycobacteria from blood has become a common problem for clinical laboratories. In this study two methods were used for the recovery of mycobacteria from blood specimens obtained from AIDS patients: (1) direct inoculation of a biphasic medium, and (2) a non-commercial lysis-centrifugation method. A total of 3 consecutive blood samples were taken at 15-minute intervals from each of 50 AIDS patients with clinical suspicion of disseminated mycobacterial disease. Mycobacterium growth was noted in 70/138 blood specimens from 30 (60%) patients. These cultures yielded Mycobacterium tuberculosis in 19 (63%) and Mycobacterium avium complex organisms in 11 (37%) patients. Cultures using the lysis-centrifugation method were positive in 54% of the patients while cultures using biphasic medium were positive in 44% (P > 0.05). The positivity for M. avium complex was higher with lysis-centrifugation (91%) than with biphasic medium (45.4%) (P < 0.05). However, the positivities for M. tuberculosis with the lysis-centrifugation method (89.5%) and direct inoculation in biphasic medium (100%) were similar (P > 0.05). The use of a non-commercial lysis-centrifugation technique is inexpensive, reliable, and can be an alternative method for the diagnosis of mycobacteraemia in developing countries.

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